Recently, Toronto Blue Jay fans, like myself, were shocked to learn that player Chris Colabello had tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended 80 games.
Sadly this situation has proven just how quick a person can go from a Canadian sports hero to having a dark shadow cast over their career, whether they willingly took PEDs or not. Before this happened, Colabello was someone that fans could relate to. A player who had gone from the small leagues in Independent baseball, to struggling in the Majors with Minnesota to becoming an integral part of what was a special playoff run for all Toronto sports fans. A person who was able to defy all odds against him.
Colabello did release a response to the situation stating that he was shocked by the result and has spent every day trying to figure out how the banned substance got into his system.
There are some fans that will believe him, hoping that the magic of a Toronto Blue Jays team that were the AL East champions last season won’t be tainted by PED accusations. Many others are left with so many questions. Did he willingly take the banned substance? If he did, how long has he been taking it? Was the image we had of the all around good player and nice guy actually wrong?
Athletes are constantly put on a pedestal, and when their actions are called into question, so is their character and integrity. Now Colabello’s inspirational story, from the time he first joined the Blue Jays until now, will be called into question. It also reflects on the team as everything that happened last season will now be called into question.
I am not passing judgement on him. I don’t know the answer whether he took the performance enhancers willingly or not. I also don’t think a lot of us know what has gone on in his life that could motivate him to try to get ahead if that was the case. What I am saying is that this investigation and suspension is a black spot for a franchise that was Canada’s Cinderella story.
I hope for his sake and for the Toronto Blue Jays reputation that he finds a way to prove that he did not take performance enhancers willingly. For now though, the speculation will continue to swirl, as many people try to unravel the truth of the situation.
Sitting in Council chambers during a presentation by the Brock Youth Centre last week about their entrepreneurship initiatives, I couldn’t help but think of how many talented and intelligent young people we have in this community and this country.
People like Simon Southwell of Beaverton who suffers from autism, but has found success with his giant pumpkin business, selling the pumpkins and the seeds across the province.
This fact is why it angered me to see a story recently about 9 year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak from a small town in Pennsylvania facing backlash after she wrote a story about a homicide for her newspaper, The Orange Street News.
One of the comments that she has faced include that she “should be out playing with dolls.”
The fact of the matter is, I think we should always be encouraging young people to follow their aspirations and to try and help break down the barriers that prevent them from reaching their dream.
As a journalist, I am always encouraged to see youth interested in local news.
Ms. Lysiak’s father is a former reporter, and she has likely gleaned some skills from this. I believe that if you can write competently about a certain story, and if you have the skill and know what you are doing, it shouldn’t matter your age.
I personally read the story on-line and found that she did what any reporter should do. She presented all of the facts and mentioned the speculation that a hammer was the weapon used only as a fact that police “will not confirm.”
I feel that if we discourage someone like Ms. Lysiak, we may just cost ourselves another bright mind in the workplace in the future as she could end up scared of the potential barriers.
The youth have a lot to bring to our society and our country. One of the brightest minds in the Toronto Maple Leafs management team is also one of their youngest, in 29 year-old Kyle Dubas.
Canada also recently elected their second youngest Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and while we don’t know yet whether he will be successful, it just goes to show where young people can go.
Youth are more qualified and ambitious than ever, and I think everyone should encourage them to develop their skills further. The future is in good hands.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy