Chew On This!
The best cases of the up and down roller-coaster for cutting the habits are, of course, the public-eye snatchers, a.k.a. "celebrities." Easy come, easy go.
In the time of "news now!", it has become status quo to watch public figures first, admit, then attempt to quit. It is like a chess match featuring one player vs. a pretend friend, complete with tweets and status updates. We want you to win, we need you to win. Beat it! There will be a book deal, and interviews until you are fifty-ONE shades of grey, if you succeed.
Like any celeb, Sports Figures are no exception to this rule. But, their habits are not as sexy as the so-called "acceptable habits"...if you can believe it. Unfortunately, it's true. Rockers and actors can blame mental-slips and career slumps on cocaine or heroine, alcohol, even sex, and society gives it a thumbs up. Not only has the behavior been deemed cool, but also looked at as normalcy - Well done, mental-case, can't wait for the next film. Kicking the habit, when it's a Hollywood-approved drug, is news-worthy acceptance like journalists are talking about a change in the weather. But, when it comes to baseball player's vices, "that habit" they have is no bueno. (spanish for no good.)
Sniff the entire left-side of Columbia up your snout, cool. Put ground-up leaves in your lips, grossness! Unacceptable!
For that very reasoning, as silly as it sounds, Josh Hamilton deserves credit, applause, jelly-of-the-month club membership, whatever is available! He has come forth to the media and fans, knowing most will blindly ridicule, and explained his difficulty in "kicking the habit" known as, chewing tobacco.
Congrats to Josh. Trust me.
Sadly, most of the population will not understand his dilemma, but they should at least listen. It is no small matter, and definitely no easy task to complete. Two-a-days look like fishing lessons when compared with the mental-tap dancing that will challenge Hamilton, ahead. Take it from an ex-baseball player who has pumped thousands of quarters into the pinball game that is, quitting tobacco - Difficult is only the first step in a process with a thousand staircases.
Sure, the battles of addiction have been a major part of Hamilton's career, sometimes even overshadowing his on-filed amazement. However, it has always been drugs and alcohol, both accepted in the celebrity book of shame, for Hamilton and no mention ever of his tobacco use. But, in the eyes of an ex-tobacco fein, it is easy to see a difficult correlation. Like smoking, smokeless tobacco can be a substitute for other vices - eating too much, drinking and drugs are much easier to kick when you can throw in a chew as a consolation prize. The idea then becomes suppressing, as opposed to beating a habit. Game on!
Then comes the question: Is this mental battle enough to be considered the culprit for Hamilton's struggles as of late? Sure it is.
Tobacco withdrawal can lower your concentration at the plate, or on the base path - like Saturday night - just as easily as drugs can make a singer hit the wrong note or lip-sync the wrong verse. Tea tree-oil on a toothpick is not going to make him the Josh Hamilton from April and May, it will take time. Luckily for Rangers fans, and the team, Josh knows habits and how to overcome them, hopefully. (Notes to you: I am not a Doctor) Mixed with his gifted athletic prowess, it should not be a major red-flag for ownership or opposing pitchers. Make a mistake on the inner-half, and he will still punish you.
Undoubtedly, this new reflection of Hamilton's addictions will put one more giant question-mark next to his name. It's crazy to think a team would not want the plus-offense Hamilton provides, and will continue to provide, but crazy is how some people roll.
So, remember this...
Perfect is not an attribute featured on the modern-day athlete. We didn't need Penn St. for that knowledge. Regardless of the problem, addiction or category, it should be understood, currently, and not questioned.
At least he had the marbles to speak up and admit it.