Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2010 Sports Writing Part 7: Ricky Williams

Ricky Williams is a religious soul. He came to this world in search of something. He found it first in football and second in marijuana. A player of sublime talent, Ricky won the Heisman Trophy in 1998 when he led the nation in rushing yards for the University of Texas Longhorns. He was drafted fifth overall by the New Orleans Saints who were not so good in those days. They still had a city however. Ricky was good at football, but the NFL was in the business of presenting America with its steroided, airbrushed reflection, and Ricky insisted on smoking weed. It must not be easy being a religious man put in the place of a god, and the wacky tabaccy provided a brief release from this world of illusion. He went somewhere when he played football. He went somewhere when he smoked weed. Ricky retired. Ricky returned. Ricky was banned. Ricky did yoga. Ricky played football in Canada. Ricky went unto the mountain and there he prayed. Now Ricky plays on the Miami Dolphins for football czar Bill Parcells, himself a god. They share an understanding. And Ricky knows that, wherever the true god is or isn’t, Ricky was put on this earth to play football. But there is, nestled deep within, a ragged festering wound where Ricky has betrayed himself; because, role model or not, Ricky Williams was put on this earth to smoke weed.

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