Evanson Column: Smith's 'winning' gesture not as unusual as it seems
Thank you, Pavin Smith — not so much for what you did for your parents, but rather what you did for me and anyone else willing to take 54 seconds to watch a video, humbly shared and virally spread more than a week ago. Its message: Things aren't so bad.
If you're not familiar with Mr. Smith's tribute, a simple Google search can fill you in. But in a nutshell, the former Hillsboro Hops player and seventh overall pick in last spring's Major League Baseball amateur draft presented his parents with a letter communicating his thanks for the home they provided — and in return, his gift of the remainder of the principal owed on the house in which they and his younger siblings continue to live.
But it's not the money that makes me feel warm and fuzzy; rather, the gesture and the emotion surrounding it that speaks loudly to the humanity we could all use a little more of.
If you watch the news, you know what I mean. Theft. Dishonesty. Senseless killing. It's front and center for us all to see, over and over again.
And sports are no different: domestic violence, drug abuse, bonehead behavior running amok on and off of the playing field. All on a loop at your sports media outlet du jour.
Yet like in many walks of life, you see and hear what you want to see and hear. But in a world getting increasingly lazier by the day as a result of technological advances designed to allow just that, many lack the willingness to seek the truth opposed to the loud minority of lies fed to us on a daily basis.
Pavin Smith isn't the first professional athlete to selflessly give, nor will he be the last. Professional athletes and the teams and organizations they play for give a lot — and not just to their loved ones, and not just by means of financial contributions, but to countless charitable entities, via time and altruistic gestures.
Yes, some people — and definitely some players made famous by the sports they play — aren't great. They do act irresponsibly, commit crimes and in some cases act only in their best interests without appreciation for the gifts they've truly been given. But more players and definitely more people don't, and that's what I wish we'd more frequently concentrate on.
We're all being poisoned. Not by the individuals whose loathsome behavior that cause us to regularly shake our heads, but by the countless people indirectly selling it to us as the norm.
So my advice to you is simple. Don't think of Pavin Smith as the exception. Think of him as the rule and standard to which we should hold ourselves and others on a regular basis — not because he's abnormal, but because he's far closer to the norm than we and our culture are willing to admit.
In my book, that's what "winning" means.