Josh who? Josh Hamilton, the tattooed Texas Rangers centerfielder, who hit a solo home run in Game 3 of the World Series now being played on hallowed ground in Arlington, Texas. I am hoarse from screaming and my shoulder is a little sore from waving the rally towel. All worth it for my newly adopted team.
From Nolan Ryan (who I used to watch pitch) and Ron Washington down to 22-year-old Nefti Feliz who shut down A-Rod and those damn Yankees and who wrapped up the Rangers first Series win by pitching a lightening striking 9th inning in Game 3, these guys are classy and professional and such little boys playing the dream games of their lives.
Props too to Mitch Moreland for his three-run shot, but it’s Josh I love. I wore his T-shirt to the game. Well, not his shirt, but it did have his name on the back, like about 50,000 other fans.
Josh could easily attain hero status among baseball fans for his Phoenix-like rise from the depths of addiction to play on one of the grandest stages in all of sports. But to me, Josh is simply one example of the promise that recovery from addiction holds. When he put down the drugs and surrendered to their destructiveness in his life and in the lives of those who love him, he created the opportunity to get his life back.
With a little luck, a whole bunch of hard work and the infinite grace of his higher power, Josh got his life back in a Texas-size way. While most of us don’t get to experience that kind of fame and fortune once we surrender to our own beasts, we do get to experience Josh’s sense of satisfaction for a sober life well lived.
Josh also knows that to keep his precious gift of sobriety, he has to give it away. My organization, The Partnership at Drugfree.org (drugfree.org), receives the benefit of his giving. Josh blogs for us and shares his inspirational story of recovery. On a side note, we also partner with Major League Baseball Charities to deliver Play Healthy (drugfree.org/playhealthy), a comprehensive education campaign around performance enhancing drugs. It was incredibly cool to see our banners stream across the LED screen at Rangers Ballpark and then to see our crumbling Statue PSA on the stadium big screen.
Josh gets doused with ginger ale instead of champagne after championship games. He looms large in the spotlight and is adored by many, including this baseball fan.
But I guarantee you, that at some point last night, in a quiet and alone space, Josh also took the opportunity to humbly and honestly give thankful praise to the god of his understanding. Minus the locker room camaraderie, the glare of the media lights and the roar of the fans, Josh was just Josh, a grateful recoverying addict.
Josh and me. We share the disease of addiction. The thread that binds us, in fact, binds all of us, is our conscious awareness of what it means to play our individual games of life.
Ultimately, winning or losing is either exultation or disappointment. But how we show up to play our game each day is the ticket to whether we truly win or lose.