Mood Music - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End by The Beatles
Pictured next to these words you have Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers All Star, Super Slugging Outfielder and a man who makes probably about one hundred times more money than I do and is a year younger than me. Sigh. Josh Hamilton is also apparently a recovering drug & alcohol addict. Recently it came out that he went into a bar in Dallas, which obviously isn't the best way to keep off one's alcohol addiction. Now there's been a lot of talk about a certain "writer's" article in which he seemingly bashes Hamilton for what he did. After reading the article, I actually disagree that the "writer" in question was bashing Hamilton, but rather poorly chose what words to use, something I tend to think that "writer" does in abundance. However, there was one quote that stuck with me and it brings us to my first IGYARticle.
More after the jump.... OR IS THERE??
A sober Josh Hamilton is a role model, a paragon of perseverance, a pillar for addicts trapped in dark tunnels. Sober, he is great.
This quote brings up an issue of something that has always bugged me personally and this incident gives me a chance to talk about a question I've been asking for a long time; why are famous people role models?
Before we move on, lets take a look at Webster's Online Dictionary to discuss the definition of the word role model...
role model (noun): : a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others
If you actually clicked on the link, there's something after the definition that perfectly fits my discussion right now...
Examples of ROLE MODEL: Athletes should remember that they are role models.
Thank you Webster's Online Dictionary for contributing to my point. Anyway, so if we are going by what Webster's Dictionary tell us a role model is, is Josh Hamilton a role model? If we go by the definition, then the answer is a resounding yes! The key words to look for in the definition are the words particular and role. Josh Hamilton is a role model as a baseball player. If you look at the stats, he is an excellent baseball player who was not only good enough to transcend from the minors to the majors, something that not all minor league players can do, but has become one of the shining stars of the Lone Star State, not to mention a 4-time All Star. As a baseball player, he is definitely one to be admired and is an example for all young athletes and minor league players, who I guess are also young athletes, to look up to for his talent. Not that I want him on the Yankees, due to my feelings towards how every team needs their own superstar (an article I'm sure I'll write in the future), but lets just say that if the Yankees did acquire him through some means, I would not be all that upset about it.
Having said all that, we go back to the quote in question which says that somehow Josh Hamilton is a role model for recovering alcoholics & drug addicts, a "pillar for addicts trapped in dark tunnels" and so on. How exactly did this happen and more importantly why? Besides his fame, fortune, and success, what separates Josh Hamilton from any other recovering addict dealing with their addiction? The only real difference is that he's in the spotlight. There are people out there all across the world who deal with addiction like this. I happen to know a couple people personally who do, and the only difference between them and Josh Hamilton is that they don't play baseball. If they did, I would and should be treated to a lot more dinners and free baseball games.
Now the reaction to what happened seems to be more in favor of Josh Hamilton's privacy in dealing with this. However you cannot blame the media for reporting on what happened, because that's their job. Personal feelings have to be put aside in order to get the story in question. This is news, and it should be reported on. The real problem I have is how high a pedestal athletes like Josh Hamilton are put on by the very media reporting on the news. They are the ones who perpetuate this myth that athletes, and other famous people like actors, have to be pillars of moral gold, "paragons of perseverance" and essentially people without any real faults. This is where the definition of role model gets totally skewed.
It's similar to the whole Centaur poster thing with A-Rod that we here at the Pinstripe Alley have come to enjoy during our game threads. So the man possibly has a poster of himself as a centaur. Who cares? Heck, if I made that much money it's probably something I'd do because I'm a gargantuan nerd. Okay, I'd probably go with a poster of me fighting Godzilla, but that's beside the point. The point is that the media builds these famous people up as role models of immense virtue, rather than what their particular role might be, and are out there every day, every hour, every second waiting to report on any faults these people might have so that the talking heads have something to talk about. Thanks to my internship at SNY, I've been behind the scenes and I've seen how this process works.
The price you seemingly pay for fame & fortune is a complete loss of privacy, so they have to be on their guard at all times, having to be extremely careful with what they say and do. Josh Hamilton and many many other baseball players out there probably just want to play the game they love so much. I'm not saying that it's all about baseball and it has nothing to do with fame & fortune, as they are pretty sweet perks of playing the game they love, but if they didn't enjoy doing it I imagine they wouldn't, especially due to the loss of privacy if and when they bask in the spotlight. On a personal note, I actually thought of becoming an actor at one point in my life. I'm definitely a performer and I love attention. The reason I eventually decided not to is because when I made it, and I would because IGYAR always does what he sets his mind to and get what he wants, I know that I would have absolutely no privacy and it would most likely be a problem because I have little to no shame. Plus, the idea of no privacy bothers me. So I cannot imagine being assigned a title like "a role model for everyone" when really, all I want to do would be act and make others laugh. This is how I imagine a lot, not all, of famous people to be.
In fact, I pose this question to those reading this piece; How would you feel if you had absolutely zero privacy at all and had to watch everything you said and everything you did all the time?
Josh Hamilton is a role model as a baseball player. Otherwise, he's just another human being, the same as the rest of us. He, nor other famous people in the spotlight like him, should be made out to be people with no faults or failings just because they're rich and famous. The people in your life who should help shape your moral compass should be your parents, because that's their role, not famous people you don't even know nor the media who claims what type of people these famous people should be. If you are going to define someone as a role model, then do as the title says and know their role!