I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone claim athlete X was sure to someday be the all-time scorer, hitter, or whatever. I usually don’t say but am thinking “no way.” It takes a long time, a lot of talent, and a whole lot of luck. The talent part is obvious. The time? Hank Aaron accumulated 755 homers…in 23 years. Barry Bonds got to 762…in 22 years. Nolan Ryan racked up 5714 K’s…in 27 years. The luck? It’s not just getting a ball that tips off an outfielder’s glove and goes over the fence or a pitcher getting away with a flat pitch over the middle of the plate. It’s staying healthy long enough.
That last part is why I’m writing this post. I remember how many people saying Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major golf tournament wins was going to go down when Tiger Woods burst on the scenes…and I annoyed some people with my immediate “no way” in response. To be sure, he’s had a stellar career, an all-time great pro golfing career. He’s tied with Sam Snead with the most PGA wins at 82 (Nicklaus is next at 73). He has 15 major tournament wins, second only to Nicklaus. He has also had 5 back surgeries, most recently in December. Then yesterday he was in a horrific car wreck that he’s lucky to have survived. His injury was described as an open, comminuted fracture of the tibia. In layman’s terms, a compound fracture of the lower leg; the bone was shattered. It’s going to be a long, hard journey to rehab enough to walk unassisted, let alone play golf. Best of luck to him, and glad he’s alive.