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Book Review – "Beyond Belief" by Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton is a real success story. He’s had it all, he’s hit rock bottom, and now he’s truly back on top of the mountain. As a boy, he took an early interest in baseball, and was so good at the game that he made it to the much older leagues before he was ten years old. He had such a strong arm and powerful swing that he was considered dangerous to the boys his age with whom he played minor league baseball.
As he grew up, he continued the strong morals his parents instilled in him when he was still a boy. He was taught that family was the most important thing in life and found joy in staying home on nights when his friends were out risking trouble. He entered high school and immediately began to realize that he had major league potential and set his sights on making it to the big leagues. His dreams came true when he graduated from high school and signed with the number one pick in the major league draft, accepting an offer and a bonus of over four million dollars.
Hamilton’s transition to stardom and becoming a man was bumpy. His parents followed him through the minor leagues to make sure he got into trouble, and some of his teammates and coaches found it strange. He had been protected all his life, and now at his job, they still protected him.
When his parents finally gave him his freedom, Hamilton began to exhibit questionable behavior. He got over a dozen tattoos in a short period of time and began experimenting with drugs with the men who gave him the tattoos. Hamilton hit a slippery slope and started taking more and more drugs. Part of it was the feeling of the drugs, but the drugs also took his mind off the back pain he experienced after the car accident.
Josh Hamilton ended up hanging out with the wrong crowd. He started to become paranoid about buying drugs and spending huge sums of money to get access to hard drugs. He passed out in random trailers and passed out on many occasions due to the large amounts of drugs he consumed, but he always had a love of family and a natural talent for baseball that brought him back to the light.
He ended up going to his grandmother’s house in the middle of the night, and she was responsible for changing his life. She kept telling him that one day she would play baseball again with reassuring confidence. She fed him all the food he could handle and gave him a place to sleep. Josh quickly gained weight and began to think that a return to baseball was a good possibility; but he had no idea who would want to give the worn-out junkie another chance.
Hamilton found his answer in a religious baseball group that forced him to do janitorial work during the day so he could get practice in the field and cage at night. He noticed that he still had incredible swing and with weight training he was back in top shape in no time.
Josh knew the right people in the right places at the right time, and was drafted by the major league Cincinnati Reds. He made an immediate impact, but was eventually traded to the Texas Rangers. While in the Rangers’ organization, he started every game and made the All-Star team. He proved that he had his momentum all along; he just needed a push in the right direction to realize his true potential.
One thing to take away from Beyond Belief is that family is the most important thing a person will ever have. Sometimes you may not notice it, but it’s easy to be lost in the world without family and the security that someone is there for you. Luckily for Josh Hamilton, his parents and wife stuck by him throughout his addiction and recovery process. His wife proved to be an extraordinary woman, and his grandmother showed strength that no one else could. This autobiography is a great read whether you like baseball or not. Hamilton’s story is an amazing success story that makes you appreciate family and a healthy life. This book is easily rated 5 out of 5.
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