Written by Dr Jim Tunney on August 14, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS August 13, 2018, #705…G.O.A.T.
After further review…The G.O.A.T. acronym is used as an accolade, not an insult. It stands for “Greatest Of All Time” and is used to compare others. For example: Is LeBron better than Michael was or is Brady better than Montana was? The TunneySide is not a fan of GOAT. The reasoning is that most athletes play in T*E*A*M sports, and his mates may vary from season to season thereby making a difference in his performance. Now, if you are comparing Michael Phelps swimming records as well as his victories to Mark Spitz, perhaps that acronym applies.
Sports fans loved to make these comparisons. However, their prejudice shows through in many of their arguments. Lou Gehrig, a former New York first baseman who played his entire 17-year career with the Yankees was nicknamed “The Iron Horse” for his strength and durability. Can G.O.A.T. be applied to Gehrig? He is often compared to Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, and Jackson. However, what separates Gehrig may be his retirement speech as death was approaching, due to ALS(Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – now called the Lou Gehrig Disease. (Read the full text of that speech here.)
In 1937, Gehrig was in Chicago where the Yankees were to play the White Sox. A friend asked him to pay a visit to Tim, a 10-year old boy in the hospital who had polio but was refusing to try therapy. Gehrig was Tim’s hero and Tim’s parents hoped a visit would encourage Tim to try therapy. Gehrig agreed. During that visit, he said to Tim, “I want you to get well. Go to therapy and learn to walk again.” Tim said, “Lou if you will knock a home run for me today, I will learn to walk again.” Lou promised.
Although Gehrig had a career 493 home runs, this request was during the last two years of his career and home runs were not easy to come by. The pressure was mounting as he rode to the ballpark, yet Gehrig felt a deep sense of obligation, as well as much apprehension. Well, Lou didn’t knock one home run that day. He knocked two!
A short two years later when ALS was taking the life out of the old Iron Horse the Yankees held a Lou Gehrig Day, July 4th, 1939. Yankee Stadium was packed with every dignitary possible. As Lou stepped to the microphone, Tim, now 12 years old, walked out of the Yankees dugout, dropped his crutches, and with leg braces walked to Lou at home plate and gave him a hug.
That’s what Gehrig meant when he exclaimed those immortal words, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.“
Will you step-up-to-the-plate to help a “Tim” who may need your help?
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