Saturday, April 11, 2009


I tend to get totally caught up in baseball. This isn't exactly news, I realize! But every now and then, it all gets put into perspective. You realize it's just a game, that there are larger issues that challenge us every day.

That's how I felt Thursday afternoon when I heard the news about the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. Frankly, I had never heard of him - and had only paid cursory attention to the recap of Wednesday nights Angels-As game. It was Adenhart's first start of the season - and the last of his life. Just hours later, he was killed by an alleged drunk driver - someone who tried to flee the scene, leaving behind 2 dead, 1 mortally wounded, and 2 others (including his own passenger) critically injured.

What a tragedy - but one that is unfortunately enacted daily in our country. Every day, someone gets behind the wheel who's had one too many - or ten too many. They don't think about the drive home, about the fact that they're operating thousands of pounds of a potentially lethal weapon. Most are only thinking about hitting their bed as soon as possible.

I guess I've got a unique perspective. In 1996, as I was driving home at 9:30 pm from work, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He crossed over into my lane as I was driving up a hill and he was coming down. My little Camry was no match for his minivan. As I tried to extricate myself, looking down at a leg laceration that cut me to the bone, he ran away. Fortunately, two big men who were in the car behind me gave chase, and held him until the police arrived. Not that it mattered - he had no license, no insurance, and it wasn't even his car. I was lucky to be overinsured - all of my injuries and damages were covered - but it was months before I was truly whole again. And probably longer before I was mentally rehabbed.

Whenever I feel low, and when I hear news like I did Thursday, I try to remember how fortunate I was to survive that wreck. It's too bad Nick Adenhart will never be able to have that perspective. The lesson here: don't drive after you've been drinking. Ever. As our local safety department points out, "buzzed driving is drunk driving."

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