RCS Sidelines

August 11, 2009 10:55 AM

Tim Cowlishaw Knows Josh Hamilton's Struggles

A lot has been written about Josh Hamilton and the pictures that came out Saturday. The pictures, released on Deadspin, show Hamilton, a recovering addict, partying in a bar, shirtless, with girls who are not his wife. If this were any other athlete, it would be a non-story, but since it's Hamilton -- a baseball player celebrated for his comeback, idolized for the way he was able to return from the depths of drug and alcohol addictions, and very outspoken about it all, particularly his new found relationship with God -- it is, in fact, a big story.

But perhaps the best writing to emerge from all of this came from Tim Cowlishaw, columnist at the Dallas Morning News (you may recognize him from Around the Horn), who knows what Hamilton went through, and is going through. Because he's been there.

Hamilton watched more than three years of his professional career sail by during his darkest days of battling drugs and alcohol.

I watched the Cowboys lose to the Eagles, 44-6, last December from my room at Parkland Hospital after suffering a fractured skull of undetermined origin.

When Josh says he's foggy on the details of his drinking in Arizona, I'm right there with him in the fog. How I got into an ambulance to go to Parkland will remain one of my life's little mysteries.

That's what happens when you have a blood alcohol level of .26.

I do want to mention that I wasn't driving that night. I wish I could report that I stopped drinking after that incident.

I'd like to say that having those staples and stitches removed from the back of my head with no anesthetic was painful enough to teach me a lesson I should have learned the first time my kids asked, "Daddy, why are you drinking?" [...]

On May 7, I got another ride in an ambulance. This one I actually remember. We had just about finished an episode of The Ben and Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan when I hit the deck, having suffered my first (and hopefully last) seizure.

Troy Hughes, the board operator and a former Eagle Scout, swung into action, pouncing on me and making sure I didn't swallow my tongue. I'm not completely sure this was necessary, I think Troy always had a thing for me, but let's go with his story.

Ben and Skin accompanied me to the emergency room. To be honest, they did some of their best work there.

At this point – perhaps fearful of missing what few episodes of that underrated radio show remained – I decided to stop drinking for a while.

Cowlishaw, who pens a raw and honest column, has now been three months without a drink, but he's quick to remind that he's not a hero, and neither is Josh Hamilton, despite the level to which we've built him up. "He's a human who, in recovery, is trying to make the most of his life for his family and friends and, as a professional athlete, his teammates."

And that's really the story in all of this: Josh slipped up, and he knows that. It is not the end of the world, and certainly not the end of his career, or even his inspiring story. An addict is always in recovery, and that will continue for Hamilton. He made a mistake. He is, after all, just like Cowlishaw, only human.

Columnist, others know what's being thrown at Texas Rangers' Hamilton - Tim Cowlishaw
The Devil Is Still In Josh Hamilton - Deadspin

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