February 21, 2012

PLAYING IN PAIN:

Gary Carter Showed Me How to Play the Game: I never met the baseball great, who died last week. But he spoke to me in my darkest hour. (ANDREW KLAVAN, 2/21/12, WSJ)

I was not a Christian then--not yet--and if Carter had preached religion at that moment, it would have gone right past me. But he didn't. He said something else, something much simpler but also true. I don't remember the words exactly but a fair translation would be this: "Sometimes you just have to play in pain."

Carter's words somehow broke through my self-pitying despair. "Play in pain?" I thought. "Hell, I can do that. That's one thing I actually know how to do."

I had been looking for answers but I didn't know the answers. I had been looking for solutions, but solutions were for another day. It hadn't occurred to me that maybe, for now at least, the only way to go on living was to do like the great athletes do and just tough it out.

I did tough it out, and I got therapeutic help, and I abandoned lifelong self-destructive habits and thoughts. And had I known in that moment how very close I was to genuine mental health and happiness, I would have slapped myself stupid for ever thinking to end it all.

Gary Carter didn't save my life. He was just a ballplayer I'd never met. He didn't have that power. But because he was how he was and played how he played and spoke with a brash, sunny optimism that made journalists hate him--well, let's say he lit a candle when a little bit of light made all the difference.

Posted by at February 21, 2012 7:55 PM
  

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