Living the dream of playing in the big leagues, on a multi-million dollar contract, and being regarded as everyone’s “hero” is tough. I know that sounds ridiculous and facetious, but only because most of us reading this blog can’t relate to it.
If you pay attention to the Players Tribune at all, you get to read some cool stories written by professional athletes, mostly concerning things happening off the field. They give a cool behind the scenes look into the lives of these men and women some people revere as a god.
David Freese, in a piece written by Joe Rodgers of Sporting News, opened up about his battles with depression and alcohol abuse throughout his baseball career.
“I was depressed. I was always depressed…I never tried to do anything to myself, but I didn’t care about my life. I didn’t care what would happen to me. It was almost to a point that if this is my time, so be it?
“And there was definitely a lack of care about my well-being at certain times, for sure.’’
Freese talked to USA Today Sports about quitting baseball as a freshman in college, and spending his nights drinking away. I was never aware of these issues with David Freese. I remember watching that Game 6 like it was yesterday. I can still hear “we will see you tomorrow night” from Joe Buck. Apparently it was tough enough that Freese needed to get out of town.
“You win the World Series in your hometown, and you become this guy in a city that loves Cardinal baseball,’’ Freese said. “Sometimes it’s the last guy you want to be. So you start building this facade, trying to be something I was not.
“I always wanted to change, to get over all of my issues, but it was so hard. You get stuck in the mud. You just don’t know where to go.’’
It’s often tough to remain aware of the fact that we look at these athletes through a perspective that sometimes makes it difficult to relate to them as normal people. I don’t want to say I enjoy listening to guys talk about their problems with depression and alcohol, but I do like when guys give us content and reasons to remind us of their equal vulnerability. Just remember, if you can’t be happy with $1,000 you probably won’t be happy with $1,000,000. And if you can’t be happy playing college ball, you won’t be happy in the bigs.