22 January, 2006

Life puts things in perspective (obviously)

A bit late in the day, but I've just read Barry Svrluga's poignant piece from last Wednesday's WaPo about Ryan "Dutch" Zimmerman.

For those who don't know, Zimmerman was the Washington Nationals' first ever pick in the amateur draft. Ignoring the 36 year history of Les Expos, Zimmerman has the potential to be the first franchise player. Certainly his quick promotion to the Major Leagues last September - an impressive debut too - adds to that possibility.

Not only is he a first round pick with huge potential, "Dutch" (and we can debate another time whether that internet journalist hung moniker will stick) is also local(ish), hailing from Virginia and a alumunus of the University of Virginia. Placing such a burden on a young player can be unfair. Zimmerman, by all accounts, seems like the kind of guy who can deal with the pressure.

Anyway, Svrluga's nice little profile focuses not only on Zimmerman's sound personal qualities, but also on how he and his family have faced up to the adversity of illness. Mother Cheryl has suffered with Multiple Scelrosis (MS) for ten years.

MS is a horribly debilitating condition. It is random, progressive and, for many sufferers, soul destroying.

My mum was diagnosed with MS some 25 years ago. What started as a tingling sensation in her legs has steadily got worse taking away her mobility and strength.

I don't know about making those around them better equipped to cope with life, but a disease like MS can hlep put a lot of what one takes for granted in perspective.

Ryan Zimmerman comes across as a good kid, highly talented, motivated and calm. He may not be the next Brooks Robinson or Mike Schmidt. Nats' fans hope he'll be the firstRyan Zimmerman. You just gotta root for the guy.


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