Ted Williams And The Idea of Second Chances

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Ted Williams, “the man with the golden voice”. If you haven’t, then you live under a rock.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQzgcWwfcxQ]

A few weeks ago, the Ted Williams story hit the world & immediately took over. A chance meeting with a Cleveland cameraman took this man from homeless on the side of the road to becoming the biggest news story of the week. He was everywhere – doing radio, then tv interviews, getting job offers, being flown across the country, even getting a chance to see his mother after a considerable separation. It truly was a heart-warming story – poor down-on-his-luck guy goes from penniless to top of the world thanks to his God-given talent.

Initially, I was very happy for Ted Williams & loved his story. Who doesn’t love a good story where someone goes from nothing to something almost overnight? My first thought was “I’m so glad he’s off the street now”. I have a family member who is homeless, and it’s a heart-breaking situation, and I empathized with Williams & his loved ones. As the story grew larger & larger, I hoped for continued good things for him in his new life.

As the story kept getting bigger and bigger, I gave Williams’s story more thought. Here’s a man who was on the street for years and years, due to drug and alcohol use. Was he really equipped to deal with how much his life had changed, and how quickly those changes happened? I’m not sure he was. I’m not sure any of us would be. To go from begging on the street with a cardboard sign, to having all kinds of money, job offers, and everything else thrown at you overnight? HUGE change and a lot to handle, even for the strongest of people.

What Ted really needs, more than a house or a job or even a reunion with his family, is help. Clearly he’s struggled with some issues & his own personal demons, which lead him to rock bottom. And no matter how many job offers you have, how many times you’re on television, if you cannot conquer your demons, you will forever & always remain a prisoner of them. And they will always lead you to the same place. Drug & alcohol addictions will not go away with enough money, or enough time. And without treatment & support he will fail once again. But Williams doesn’t have the luxury of failure this time. The entire world has cheered this man on, is feeling all warm & fuzzy inside from this feel good story. Everyone deserves a second chance right? Unless of course someone squanders it – and then people start to believe that no one deserves a second chance.

Its been reported that Williams is entering treatment for his addictions, and that he was drinking daily during his meteoric rise to fame. Treatment is absolutely the best place for him to be, and I hope that the organizations that have made him offers recognize that & do not rescind them. I hope that in treatment he can finally get his life back on track, so that we all can remember the feel good story & marvel at what can happen when you grant someone a second chance.