As has been widely publicized, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton continues his recovery from a long battle with alcohol and other drug addiction which derailed his promising baseball career for many years. Hamilton has only recently begun to reach his potential, leading to his being named the Most Valuable Player in the American League for 2010 when his team won the pennant and advanced to the World Series. The Rangers recently clinched the American League West once again and celebrated accordingly...or did they?
Baseball tradition almost dictates the obligatory champagne-spraying celebration, but here is where Hamilton's recovery comes into play. In 2010, the team replaced the champagne with ginger ale, out of respect for and sensitivity to, their leader's personal situation and his commitment to maintaining his abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. From the photos of this year's celebration, it appears that this adjustment was continued (although it looked to me like Mountain Dew was substituted this year!).
It would have been easy, I think, for Hamilton's teammates to stick with the standard champagne and beer festivities, putting the onus on him to decide whether he could even participate--and potentially endangering his recovery. Instead, they recognized that a simple acccomodation could preserve their desire to celebrate, while respecting Hamilton's situation.
Would they have done the same thing for a lesser player? Hard to say, but let's give credit where credit is due.
Now, how do we as individuals support support those in our lives who are engaged in the same effort as Hamilton is? Would we be willing to accompany a friend to an (open) A.A. meeting? Would we be willing not to serve alcohol at an event if our friend was early in recovery and not yet ready to be around it? What other things might we do to help someone along the way? Interesting to consider, and probably not hard to do. Hamilton's teammates provided us with a nice example of one way to be supportive and are to be commended for doign so