Saying Goodbye to Legends…
by Amy Lignor
When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with.
In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.
When it came to the legend everyone knew, Arnold Palmer was his name. To be quite blunt, it was Palmer who actually made golf into a “cool” sport. Up until his arrival on the scene, golf could not compare with the thrills of football or the home runs that brought about pennants and made crowds of fans go crazy.
Arnold Palmer always smiled. He would smoke his cigarettes, wave to the crowd, and he was literally one of us. He was not from the world of mansions or fast cars; he was the son of a simple, hard-working groundskeeper and was as down-to-earth as one could possibly expect. He loved his fans, which is part of the reason why he was referred to as “The King.” Yes, his game was amazing, but his heart was too. And I’m sure even he was shocked at times to see his once “quiet” sport transform into a billion-dollar industry.
But even with the “Tigers” of our day, Arnold was the one who everyone associated golf with. He was your friend, while he was telling jokes or making that perfect shot that seemingly no one in the world would ever be able to accomplish but him. He also cried, on national TV. He didn’t care about “appearances,” he was simply grateful for what he had, what he’d become and the fans who truly loved and honored him. And even though he liked reveling in his celebrity, he most definitely wasn’t doing it to buy the next sports car or stroke his ego. He just simply loved the game, who he was…and we loved him for it.
One of the most fun facts about Palmer is that whereas most sports stars want either stadiums named after them or their own private plane, Arnold Palmer had a drink (a mixture of lemonade and iced tea) named after him, and it was (is) literally a Grand Slam. I mention this fact to make sure that one and all – those who did not know him, as well as those who did – remember exactly what a unique, “regular” man he was.
From the man who made it to the top and was allowed to enjoy that life, we move to a man lost in these past days who was far too young to leave…
Jose Fernandez was on his way to becoming a true star in the major leagues. He was not only thankful, he was perhaps more than a bit stunned that his life had finally gotten on such a unique and amazing path. This is a young man who did more than face adversity, he lived through trials that would perhaps make most people lie down and give up completely.
As a teen, Jose was placed in jail for attempting to defect from his country. It took four attempts, in fact, for him to leave Cuba behind and get to the land of opportunity. On the fourth try, he even saved his mother from drowning during their escape; she’d fallen overboard into violent waters with waves so high that it was a miracle she wasn’t lost forever.
In the draft of 2011, Jose was chosen 14th overall by the Marlins. From a young man who basically had nothing but hope, he became a sports sensation paid $2 million dollars, playing in the majors in 2013. The man’s talent was so overwhelming that his name was whispered through the proverbial baseball grapevine. People began to go to the minor camps and watch him, hearing that his pitching arm was nothing short of elite.
And that it was. His skill level included a 95-mile-an-hour fastball and a wipeout slider. His stats for four seasons showed that Jose was going to be part of baseball history, recorded as one of the “greats” to ever play the game.
Unfortunately, Jose was lost in an accident when a boat slammed into a pile of rocks. Two other lives were taken as well, and fans were not only shocked, but his friends, fellow players and peers could not escape the sadness.
Thus, fans everywhere wish to say goodbye. They thank both men for the passion they gave to their individual sports, and for the memories that will be treasured by one and all.
For a legend like Arnold Palmer whose smile will never be forgotten. And for a man who was lost far too soon after working so hard to get where he was, we wish both of you a perfect heaven.
Rest in Peace.
Source: Baret News