Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras: Harsh lessons of accountability

There's nothing worse in life than a waste of talent.

Today, the Sun Sentinel released the autopsy report on the late Miami Marlins phenom pitcher, Jose Fernandez. He was 24 years old when his late night boating trip with friends ended in an accident and killed all on board.

It was found that Fernandez's blood alcohol limit of 0.14 was nearly two times the legal limit(0.08). The other passengers were 27 year old Eduardo Riverio and 24 year old Emilio Jesus Marcias. Worse, there was cocaine in Fernandez's system. It was his final party. A young hero in the Cuban community gone because of a terrible mistake. 

What does this teach you, folks? The answer is simple. Life and death can be a clear cut case. Don't drink and drive. Don't do drugs. Be safe. Take care of your body and others may live as well. It is not known who was driving the boat, but the three men are dead. 

It's hard to not think about the death of Oscar Taveras two years ago in a drunk driving accident. The crash also took the life of Taveras' girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo. Sad but true. You get what you deserve if the wrong choice is made in this life. 

If Taveras had decided against driving and stayed at the party down on the beach with his family and friends, he and Arvelo would most likely still be alive. If Fernandez had decided against drug usage and extreme alcohol consumption and getting behind the wheel of a boat or on the boat period, he and the others would still be alive. Again, simple yet harsh lessons are dished out everyday. 

It doesn't help that the two men were titans of their community. Young gifted embodiments of athletic precision yet fallibility. Taveras was well known around the Dominican Republic community as El Fenomeno, and was looked up to by young players around the country. Fernandez was a Cuban hero, and parents let their kids stay up late to watch him pitch every fifth day. 

Each of these kids had smiles that could hold up a building and make a kid's day. They loved the game and adored life almost too much. At the end of the day, they were kids who made mistakes. Simple yet fatal. 

What young athletes and their parents can take away from this is to be better tomorrow. Be smarter ten years from now. Don't let a mistake off the field destroy not only your career and life but someone else's as well. Inside just two accidents, five lives under the age of 30 were lost. A little loss of judgement and a decision making malfunction is all it takes. Goodnight. 

I'm an advocate for showing a picture of the fallen athletes next to a picture of their crash sites in schools across the world. Show them the totaled car or the upside down boat. It's harsh, but could save lives. Show them that someone as beautiful and seemingly invincible on the playing field is anything but off the field. They are as human as the rest of us. 

I can't judge too harshly. I've made mistakes. I have drank and drove a couple times. I've made the mistake and gotten away with it. The last time I did it was eight years ago and I'll never forget waking up the next day to the reality that I overcame my own stupidity. I haven't touched alcohol and gotten behind the wheel since.  I don't do drugs. I'm a father and husband. I got an example to set. Every. Single. Day.

Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras were amazing talents. They had long careers ahead of them. They were loved by not only their family and friends but by entire cities and countries. Beaming stars in the middle of an ordinary night. They both died before their 25th birthday because of a simple mistake. 

Do everybody a favor and instead of glorifying their abilities, learn from their mistakes. 


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