Brett Lawrie: brooding athlete.
At first glance, it looks like professional athletes have it all. Millions of dollars, throngs of devoted fans, and an abundance of god-given ability. But if you think life is easy for pro athletes, you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.
Like any of us regular folk, there are things that keep them up at night. Like Mr. Burns and his long, lost teddy bear, Bobo, there are things in life that escape their grasp and stand in the way of true happiness.
And that’s why it makes perfect sense that Brett Lawrie, the Toronto Blue Jays’ 23-year-old star third baseman, recently took a shot at his former high school PE teacher and basketball coach on Twitter.
Take a look:
A big baby? Zero class? This Kelsey Stewart guy sounds like a real asshole. I can only imagine what he must’ve done to be called out in a tweet to nearly 200,000 followers.
But that’s where things get a little confusing. Kelsey Stewart, who teaches at Brookswood Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia, told me that he hasn’t spoken to Lawrie since he graduated five years ago.
So what would inspire a Major League Baseball star to throw his old coach under the bus like that?
There’s a cryptic piece of the tweet that helps to explain Lawrie’s venom. The hashtag “#ShootMalish”. Brent Malish was the best basketball player at Brookswood in 2005 and 2006, when Brett Lawrie was only a junior. Malish, who tells me that he is now aspiring to be an accountant, went on to be recruited by NCAA Division 1 schools and ultimately landed a scholarship to play at the University of British Columbia.
As competitive high school coaches tend to do, Kelsey Stewart ran his offense through his best player. Malish got to shoot the ball more than Lawrie did, and it would seem that the pride of the Toronto Blue Jays still hasn’t come to terms with that egregious snub.
Brett Lawrie: loves Edward 40 Hands, hates his high school basketball coach.
Despite being in the 10th grade, Lawrie was such an outstanding athlete (if not a refined basketball player) that he played at the senior level with boys one and two years older than him (an accomplishment in and of itself). But clearly that wasn’t enough for Brett. He couldn’t just be on the team; he had to be the star. And it would seem that he’s so sad that he couldn’t be the go-to guy on the Brookswood Bobcats basketball team, that he’s firing vitriol willy-nilly at people seven years later who would just as soon see the whole situation go away.
But let’s take a step back here. This is no big deal. It’s only a few nasty words typed into a tweet. Even a star third baseman like Lawrie throws one into the bleachers now and again. All’s well that ends well, right?
It’s probable that a “my bad” would patch things up with the people from Langley who, despite Brett’s hard-headedness, are still proud of him every time he steps to the plate with the Blue Jays’ logo emblazoned on his jersey. After all, even if he acts like a bit of a big dummy sometimes, he’s still Langley’s big dummy.
The thing is, Lawrie never apologized. What he did do is engage in another war of words, this time with Brent Malish’s uncle, Tom Zillich, who also happens to be a well-respected music columnist with the Surrey Now Newspaper.
Here’s the follow-up performance:
So just to distill this for you, our hero now has choice words for a local newspaper writer who dared to stand up for his nephew. The message? “Go play on Facebook, douche.” It doesn’t take a professor of hilarity to recognize that as some grade-A comedy gold.
So there you have it. A millionaire professional baseball player, widely considered to be a future all-star and face of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise (and easily the greatest athlete to come from his high school and hometown) is still sad that he didn’t get to shoot the basketball enough in high school.
And who could blame him? What are millions of dollars, legions of fans, international notoriety and uncanny athletic ability compared to high school basketball stats? Judging from Brett Lawrie’s Twitter feed, absolutely nothing at all.
But there’s more to this. Lawrie’s tweets and verbal sparring certainly come off as petty and vindictive, but should we really be all that surprised by what seems to have caused this in the first place? We’re talking about a human being who was earmarked for greatness and expected to be the best at every turn. If, from the earliest age, you are taught that your personal sense of self-worth is directly linked to the outcome of your performance in a game, wouldn’t you be angry that you didn’t see the ball more in high school?
This petty vindictiveness, however ridiculous it may be, has been a driving force for the greatest athletes in the world. In 2009, Michael Jordan, the best basketball player who has ever lived, was elected into the hall of fame. During his speech, he took the opportunity to mention every person who ever slighted him along his path to greatness, including, yes…wait for it… his high school coach who didn’t pick him for the varsity team his sophomore year.
Does it make sense for a millionaire athlete to be lashing out about something insignificant that happened in high school five years ago? Maybe just a little. Is it incredibly tough to stomach? Yes. And since ‘perspective’ and ‘self-awareness’ are apparently not common ingredients in the big league formula, I suppose we should only expect more Twitter shenanigans from athletic stars like the Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie.
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