Josh Hamilton once needed a drug and alcohol intervention.
That’s been changed to divine intervention.
The quotes from Hamilton were as follows:
“He said, ‘You haven’t hit one in a while and this is the time you’re going to,'”
The “He” Hamilton was referring to was God; and what He told Hamilton was that he was going to hit a home run in the top of the 10th inning of game 6 of the World Series.
Then the Rangers lost the game in 11 innings.
And Hamilton added the caveat that God didn’t specifically tell him that the Rangers were going to win the game, just that he was going to hit a homer.
I’m not going to get into a Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens-style rant against religion, but I’m curious of the reaction had Hamilton said something to the tune of “I kept this to myself, but Santa Claus told me last Christmas that I was gonna hit a homer in game 6 of the World Series in 2011, and I did.”
Would people have taken this revelation as seriously as they did his validation from the “real” Almighty?
Or would they have wondered whether he’d either fallen off the wagon or the drugs that nearly ruined his career had sabotaged his brain into a state of delusion for which he should be locked up?
Even for those who don’t take the tenets of religion—any religion—literally, does anyone really believe that God whispered to Hamilton that he was going to hit a home run? If he’s up there, wouldn’t God have things on his mind other than Hamilton and the Texas Rangers?
The entire Middle East is imploding; the United States is broke and embroiled in two ground wars; Thailand is almost underwater; and Turkey just had a massive earthquake, but it’s okay because God is going to take care of it all as soon as he finishes watching the World Series.
If it were my alternate universe and Hamilton was referring to Santa, what kind of jokes would be made at his expense?
But because it’s an uplifting story of someone who overcame demons that almost destroyed his life; one who recovered his one-in-a-million talent and has fulfilled it and more, it’s okay to utter such objective lunacy to the public and not be ridiculed. Since so many others believe (or say they believe) and it’s something he clings to to keep him sober and sane, then it’s okay to engage in this type of fantasy.
I’m not anti-religion. I’m not bothered one way or the other if someone believes; I understand the need for community, charity, connection with something bigger than the self; I’m for anything that keeps the masses under some semblance of control. If there wasn’t religion, people would find some other security blanket to cling to—or other reasons to kill each other. But when the entire roster of candidates for President of the United States from one of the two major parties are taking various biblical texts as if they’re fact and ignoring all scientific studies because of those written words, we’re entrusting the survival of the world to the hands of the mystics.
Do those uttering these ludicrous statements truly believe them? Or are they appealing to a constituency as a means to an end?
I can deal with the latter. The former? Not so much.
Sports are a microcosm of society and this style of divine intervention isn’t isolated. It was Adrian Gonzalez who, following the Red Sox collapse, said:
“I’m a firm believer that God has a plan and it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward.”
“God didn’t have it in the cards for us.”
If I’m paying Gonzalez his lofty salary, I don’t need to hear a built-in excuse for why he and his team failed. If he really believes this, it’s something I would have a serious issue with.
Evander Holyfield and Reggie White used to claim to have been healed by God and no one really batted an eye. Holyfield was able to fight; White was able to play football, so whom did it hurt? The money rolled in for themselves and their business associates.
But how far is this going to go?
Is it faith?
Is it a coping mechanism?
Is it a way to maintain calm during times of great stress?
Or is it a form of derangement?
Did the fervent belief that Hamilton espouses give him the confidence and calm to be able to ignore the pain of his injuries and exhaustion from a long season to have the power to hit that home run off of Jason Motte?
Perhaps it’s all of the above.
But let’s keep things in their proper context and in the realm of reality here and try to keep religion off the field of play.
Let’s keep things in perspective.
God didn’t hit that homer.
Hamilton the human being did.