By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~
Sports, in the grand scheme of the world, are a relatively small speck in relation to topics that garner importance. Politics, health concerns and violence come to mind as three specific areas that dwarf the importance of grown adults playing games meant for young people, yet the entire end goal of sports is a release from the everyday tension and stress that society and the world throw in our faces.
When star athletes die, like Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and legendary golfer Arnold Palmer did on Sunday, they amplify our innate human emotion. We become distraught over people we have never met and have only known through the media and occasional in-person experiences at their events. When they are ripped away from us, especially as Jose was, not yet even in his prime as he propelled on the fast-track toward the Hall of Fame, our ability to experience this is diminished. We know there is a void that will never be filled.
Jose Fernandez was a one-of-a- kind person in addition to being a standout baseball player. His unmitigated joy while playing and his undying spirit for the game defined him. It took him four attempts to defect from Cuba to the United States, and the story of when he leaped into the water to save his mother after she fell out of the boat on one of the attempts has been told many times over. He exemplified what baseball needs in this day and age – a player who wears his emotions on his sleeve. The old adage still holds true: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” No matter what you read, you won’t be able to fully understand what Jose meant to the game until you see the emotion and happiness he played with.
The sports world lost two prominent members of its community, one just beginning his career at the age of 24 and the other having lived his life to the fullest. Jose Fernandez (left) and Arnold Palmer (right) both lost their lives this past Sunday. Their legacies are unmatched. Photos courtesy of sports.vice.com and nbssports.com Arnold Palmer, “The King,” died at the age of 87. He won seven major championships, and in the words of Jack Nicklaus, “was more than a golfer and even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend.”
There are many more experienced writers who can piece together what happened to Jose and his significance in a much better way than what you have just read.
Some even decided not to write because they felt no word penned on a page could do justice to what he meant for the sport of baseball. Yet, on this small scale, for a campus newspaper in southwestern Ohio, we can share in the differences Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer made in their sports.
They gave hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people the chance to live in the moment and watch them dominate their sport.
It is in times like these that we can appreciate how delicate and precious life is. If only we all loved our jobs and our lives the way Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer did, the world would be a much better place.