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[Opinion] Troubled Baseball Player

Posted April. 26, 2007 03:18,   


Thierry Henry, renowned French soccer star, who made his name in Korea during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan, was once a bad boy making trouble in the slums of Paris. However, his life changed after he began playing soccer upon his father’s recommendation. The 30-year-old striker, who earned over $20 million last year alone, is now the pride of France. “I always try to remember where I came from,” said Henry, who recently established a foundation to help underprivileged children. What if he chose not to play soccer, how would he be living now?

Wi Dae-han, a pitcher for the SK Wyverns, recently quit baseball after details of his past wrongdoings were spread all over Internet, triggering mounting criticism among netizens. Eventually, the 20-year-old highly promising player walked away from professional baseball after just four months saying, “I’m sorry but it’s too difficult to bear.” He spent one year in a juvenile reformatory school on charges of robbery when he was a 16-year baseball player at Busan High School. However, he devoted himself to baseball after being discharged from detention and became one of the finest players in the nation that even U.S. Major League teams have kept their eye on. Wi joined SK Wyverns last year.

When he committed his first crime in 2003, the court acquitted him instead of sentencing him to imprisonment. The court decided to give him a second chance because the baseball team coach at Busan High School strongly appealed to the court that Wi was a gifted baseball player who had the potential to become the next “Sun Dong-ryol,” the nation’s legendary pitcher. However, Wi committed a crime again and ended up in a juvenile detention center. A belated argument has erupted on Wi’s past among netizens as to whether or not he should be given another chance.

SK coach Kim Sung-geun says, “It’d be waste of his talent.”

“I hope he can continue playing baseball since his mistakes were made when he was a child. Is there anything he can do better than baseball?,” said the judge who exonerated Kim.

Although everyone has to pay for his or her wrong doings, it would be too cruel to make someone live under a yoke for the rest of their life on the grounds of past mistakes. Since all he wants to do is play baseball, people should show some generosity. Of course, Wi must not forget where he came from even if he gets another chance to play baseball.

Hong Chan-sik, Editorial Writer, chansik@donga.com