In two short weeks the fortunes of three of the most storied professional sports teams were turned upside down, possibly for the foreseeable future and beyond. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, all went down with injuries that make us go, “Hmmm—how did that happen and why?”
When Mariano Rivera, the all time saves leader in major league baseball, went down with a torn ACL while shagging fly balls in the outfield most people cried, “What A tragedy!” At age 42, how can he possibly come back from such an injury and pitch again? What a terrible way to go out for one of the class acts the sport has ever known.”
The sports psychology experts will crow about the ultimate end that comes to every great athlete – and the surefire depression and even suicides that can follow the loss of the battle with father time or Karma. Was Junior Seau’s apparent suicide a destiny fulfilled? Rest in peace Junior.
Somehow the lives of elite athletes are now thought to be societal barometers for the game of life and the day to day soap opera that it entails – starring all of us in our self generated personal, societal and even political dramas.
But wait! What if Mariano – in line with a destiny embedded in his soul from the beginning – was preordained to go out not in the heat of battle but in the innocent playground of shagging fly balls in the outfield? What if it was his destiny to leave the game in such a way that he will learn a great life lesson that he could have learned no other way? And what if he says that he must come back from this injury that has literally brought him to his knees –clutching one knee in tremendous pain? If we knew that either scenario was true for sure, we might quietly rejoice for Mariano rather than have a pity party for a great player and scandal free athlete who has reached the ultimate in his sport.
We are sure of nothing in sports except that we love the nothing we know. We love the experience, the fun of telling each other that we know the unknowable about our beloved and hated heroes. If only we were so certain about our own lives as we are about the why and what for of everybody else who we think were put on the earth for our pleasure.
This is the beauty of sports that BonesBallers understand. The “game” is the playground for life lessons and the fulfillment of undiscovered destiny we had from the beginning – “To get beyond the limits of a body that could break or die. Who would sell who would buy that kind of need?” (Lyrics from the “BonesBall theme song). Well, we all have “The Need” whether we like it or not. Sports Psychologists, preachers, teachers, fans, mothers and fathers try to sell us on the ultimate marketer of this “need,” the one who’s somewhere out there urging us to make signs at games like, “We believe.”
But for Mariano Rivera, Derek Rose, Amare Stoudemire and even the new, all time great of the moment Jeremy Lin, being brought to their knees with torn ACL’s etc, it’s all just another chapter in the destiny book
Tomorrow – the BonesBall “inside” scoop on the Derek Rose knee injury and the Chicago Bulls attempt to write their own chapter. Hint, hint. It’s already in the books.
Former NBA player and now BonesBaller