Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Long Road Ahead

Everyone knows that sports are more than just games with bats, balls, and goal posts. For athletes everywhere, sports provides a "private sanctum" a "happy place" if you will, for those that take advantage of them. It also serves as something to strive for. Jeff Allison began his journey in Major League Baseball in 2003 when he was drafted by the Florida Marlins. As an 18-year-old prodigy, Allison was one of the top pitchers in the country, throwing a 95 mile per hour fastball as a senior in high school. Entering a world consumed by nothing but baseball, Allison would peruse a lifelong dream of playing Major League Baseball. However, along with his "fast" ball, came fast living, and drugs. Allison's baseball career seemingly halted when in July of 2004, he overdosed on heroin. It seldom occurs in professional sports for one's career to plummet almost instantly. The talented boy, who was once proclaimed a superstar and propelled for professional sports, has been consumed by a world of drugs and substance. 

Indeed nothing short of "sticky situation", Allison's career in baseball appears to be somewhat a fantasy rather than reality following his overdose. Indeed inactive, and certainly not throwing 95 miles per hour, Allison's career will presumably diminish over time following his drug overdose. However, precisely on December 4, 2006, Jeff Allison would turn away from a life of drugs. Alison has been sober for four years and four months and is currently active in the Marlin's minor league organization but is on the rise once more. Today, Allison was called up from the minor league camp to supply depth in the Marlin's bullpen. 

Living so close to Allison's hometown of Peabody, I would sporadically read the occasional story in he newspaper, whether it was his current involvement in baseball or activity in the Marlin's organization. However, after hearing this story, you can't help but cheer him on and assume he has shed his "tough guy" image. In his successful attempts to stay sober, he claims that his want and desire to live a drug free life was fueled by his strive to play baseball once more. It seems awfully funny to think that a game is what keeps Alison from using drugs. The game of baseball has dug Allison out of a hole, as he puts it "a deep, deep, deep hole."

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