Friday, August 10, 2007

I am....John Daly

Within a few hours there's a good chance that John Daly will have gone triple, double, double and find himself struggling to make the cut at the PGA. Before that happens let's take some time to celebrate the unlikely 67 he shot yesterday for John Daly, with all his warts, represents what's great about professional sports. Here's a guy who looks and acts like the rest of us. Like most of us he's been slashed in the face by his deranged wife but still had to get up and go to work the next day. He drinks, he smokes, he gambles, he doesn't eat well. Simply put, he's just a regular guy. When you're a kid you can look at your favorite athlete in any sport and think, "that'll be me one day". When you get a bit older and you haven't developed the ability to run a 4.5 forty, shoot the three or bench 300 pounds you realize that "one day" has arrived and that's not going to be you. Daly gives those childhood dreams life again. Thanks John and here's hoping you find a way to keep it up.

Daly's resurrection was only one of two such events yesterday. Rick Ankiel, the ex-St. Louis Cardinals picher became Rick Ankiel, the current St. Louis Cardinals outfielder. Six years after flaming out as a young pitching phenom Ankiel returned to the major leagues last night going 1-4 with a dramatic three run homer (which even brought the steely Tony LaRussa to tears, though in LaRussa's defense he was probably a bit drunk). The enormity of this occurence goes well beyond a mere position change. Rick Ankiel had literally gone crazy after going from one of the hottest young pitchers in baseball to suddenly being unable to come within three feet of the strikezone. Ankiel's story, like Daly's was one that brought a ray of hope to those who had none. Comebacks in sports are usually completely blown out of proportion. Some guy gets injured, is treated by a team of world-class specialists and comes back to play after spending his free time rehabbing (which he has alot of because he's still being paid millions of dollars). Nice work, doctors. Either that or they retire too early and quickly learn they lack the skills or desire to operate in the real world so they come back to their team. Both cases get far too much attention. Rick Ankiel's comeback probably won't get enough. A broken leg or a steroid-induced stroke can all be treated with the right medical help and rehab, a shattered psyche is something altogether different and much more difficult to mend. Congratulations Rick and kudos to the Cardinals for sticking by you all these years.

Now for today's whine. The contrast between Daly and the average pampered, tightass PGA player could not be more clear. All we hear about from the other players (and the golf media) is how bloody hot Tulsa is. Daly, at 50 or more pounds overweight, should be the most uncomfortable yet he manages. You know why, because all he has to "manage" is a round of golf. If Davis Love III was a roofer I would be very sympathetic to his plight of having to spend all day in 100 degree heat. Except he's not, he plays golf. Golf is something you do because it's hot out. NFL teams are in the midst of two a days and they seem to manage (except for the odd guy who drops dead).

Have a good weekend and enjoy the wedding. We will all try to break Matt Stairs' record of five straight doubles. Consider it a tribute to John Daly.

1 comment:

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