Kirby Puckett dies of a stroke at the age of 44 and the next morning, half of the sports world is calling him “greatness personified”, and are rushing to reminds us that on top of being a Hall of Fame baseball player Kirby was also a member of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and they were writing articles about him entitled, “The World Was A Better Place With Kirby.”
While the other half of the world, the kinder, gentler, fairer half of the world, were reminding us that if you can say that “the world was a better place with Kirby” then you must’ve never worn a dress.
Kirby Puckett World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame inductee is also the same man that allegedly once tried to strangle his wife with an electrical cord, actually used a power saw to cut through a door after she had locked herself in a room to away from him and once he even put a cocked gun to her head while she was holding their young daughter.
I guess if you can get a .318 career batting average and win a couple world championships then the world is a better place with you in it?
There is a lot that we can learn from people like Puckett.
There is an opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves and our priorities.
I am not here to say that someone has to be perfect to deserve our praise and admiration.
But what I am trying to remind you of is that there is an umpteen of degrees between someone being “not perfect” and someone holding a loaded gun to his wife’s head.
Admitting that you put a gun to your wife’s head and saying “hey, no one ever said I was perfect” is insulting.
If Kirby Puckett said to a crowd, “he who hasn’t held a loaded gun up to their wife’s head cast the first stone” he would’ve gotten pelted so fast he wouldn’t have seen it coming, even if he didn’t have glaucoma.
Don’t beat your wife and tell me, “Hey, nobody’s perfect”. Tell me “nobody’s perfect” when I find out that you cheated on your wife, once. Although I won’t defend someone cheating on their spouse, I can see someone in a bad relationship getting weak and going out of the marriage before I can see someone having a bad day and putting their spouse in a choke hold.
Baseball numbers aside, deifying Kirby Puckett strikes right at the heart of a persevering human dilemma.
Too many of us have a terribly difficult time with separating what a person does with who a person is.
It seems that people think that “great people, do great things” when actually there is no natural causal relationship between the two. This is particularly true if you are defining “great people” as being people of great character.
Then again, if you are the type of person that believes that doing great things in-an-of-itself makes you a great person by default, then my entire argument is moot.
Henry Ford did great things, but Henry Ford was also a Nazi sympathizer who kept an autographed photograph of Adolph Hitler on his desk.
Being a nationalist socialist is a definite character issue in my book.
This shouldn’t tarnish his accomplishments as an automaker and an innovator in the automotive industry, but we shouldn’t sweep under the rug or down play that he was also a fascist who applauded the extermination of human beings from the face of the earth on the basis of their ethnicity.
Trust me I understand the temptation.
I love Isaiah Thomas. When I was a kid I was even proud that my birthday was in the same month as the guy. For the longest time he could do no wrong in my eyes. He symbolized toughness, grit, heart, the whole nine yards. He led us to two NBA championships for Christ’s sake.
But the reality is that Isaiah Thomas is incompetent when it comes to running a basketball franchise.
He is. Isaiah Thomas has faults. It took me a long time to admit that, but he does.
Isaiah Thomas is also considered to be an asshole by most people that knew him professionally. When Michael Jordan screwed him out of participating on the Olympic Dream team, you could count on one hand how many of his peers that weren’t Pistons came to his side and publicly called foul. Instead, a lot of his peers, including people in the local Detroit media simply said, “That’s what he gets.”
My point is, I understand how strong the temptation is when you admire someone for one thing to make them into the same caliber of person as they are as a performer, whether they are an athlete, a corporate executive, a military genius or a President of the United States.
But we need to guard against that kind of thinking. It’s juvenile. Grow up.
I used to be just like you when I was a kid.
The keyword is kid. When I was a kid I was like that.
Now I know Kirby Puckett sexually assaulting women in restaurant bathrooms and chasing his wife around the crib with a chainsaw is a lot more serious than Isaiah Thomas being eleventybillion dollars over the salary cap in New York, but my point is that you have to be real careful when you start saying that the world is a better place with a guy in it largely on the basis that he had 2,304 career hits and that the teammates he won championships with loved the guy.
The world would be a better place if we had more decent human beings not more power hitting center fielders that let you kiss their bald head for good luck before a game.
2,304 career hits doesn’t cancel out trying to kill your wife. Just like writing children’s books about the danger of gangs doesn’t cancel out killing four people in a robbery like in the case of Tookie Williams.
Why is it that everyone that dies was the nicest guy you’d ever meet? It’s like the only people that die are the people that could always bring a smile to someone’s face, was always there to give you an ear to listen to or a shoulder to cry on. No one ever dies that choked the shit out their spouses with electrical cords. I don’t know what happens to those people but they don’t die. Because as we all know, the second you die, you instantly become such a stand up guy that people swear up and down that Jesus even looked up to you.
I mean if we can make Kirby Puckett out to be like this then I can’t believe a damn thing you say about Jesus.
No wonder they say that Jesus walked on water. Hell, depending on who you read this week, so did Kirby Puckett.
But Jesus never hit .318.
Adults should be capable of giving a guy credit where credit is due but not feel obligated to make him out to be saints like the two ideas come as a package deal.
And adults also shouldn’t react like children when someone politely reminds them of that.