Thursday, February 12, 2009
My Take on Alex Rodriguez: Pity the Fatherless Boy
It’s so easy to jerk a knee and kick Alex Rodriguez when he’s down, knock him around like a ragdoll, like everybody else is doing these days, just for the fun of it.
I could play around with his nickname, A-Fraud, all day long and with one typing hand tied behind my back, or write well into the night about at least two of his many faces, none of which, on his best day can, can tell two truths back to back, all of which, so disturbingly, can recite very different—and conflicting—stories with the same look of utter conviction.
But through all the current vitriol and thumb-nosing on the topic, through all the self-righteousness screaming and salacious headlines, I can’t help but feel something decidedly contrary from all my peers in the media.
Because I don’t, not even a smidgen, feel contempt for the man.
I feel only sadness.
In fact, after seeing Rodriguez’s interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons, I kept thinking: What in God’s name snapped in this guy along the way to make him so insecure, so empty, so needy?
I mean, here he is, as good-looking as someone can be, as rich as can be, as talented as can be, as famous as could be, and it still wasn’t enough.
It still couldn’t stop him from indulging in yet another symptom of his screwed up childhood—the kid abandoned by his father doing whatever it takes since to be loved and wanted, desperately seeking the constant hugs of approval, forever trying to fill the gap missing in his soul, compelled to live a life that swings crazily from hedonism to therapy sessions.
“I was young. I was stupid. I was naive,” he explained to Gammons about why he fell into the unseemly ooze of steroids for three seasons, after signing an unprecedented 10-year, $252 million contract. “I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth (it)…being one of the greatest players of all time.
“I felt an enormous amount of pressure…that I had all the weight of the world on top of me to perform, and perform at a high level every day…I felt like I needed something, a push…to get me to the next level.”
An insecurity so profound, so painfully overwhelming, that it all at once completely erased judgment and reason and reality.
Alex Rodriguez isn’t to be loathed, but pitied.
He’s a victim of something that happened long ago, an event that cut so deeply into his psyche it’s never quite healed.
What was exposed this week was nothing but one of the scars.