Think back to when you were 19 years old. What were you doing?
I'm no clairvoyant, but I'm willing to bet most of you will say something along the lines of, "Enjoying a few beverages at a house on campus." I'm also willing to bet the language is far less eloquent.
If you're like me, those beverages actually were the legal kind. I was a student-athlete and took my commitment seriously, along with several other peers. But even then, my foresight was limited to class assignments and the next meal at the Commons. There was no microphone jammed in my face, no camera documenting my every move, and certainly no All-Star opportunities on a national stage.
Such is the life of Bryce Harper. And his life, as he told 106.7 The Fan today, is to, "give everything I can every single day."
But plenty of athletes dedicate their lives to their sport, and Harper's obsession with baseball is nothing new. He was the kid phenom; dubbed by Sports Illustrated as baseball's Lebron James for good reason. You don't become the #1 overall draft pick and an All Star hitting .282, with 8 home runs and 25 RBI for no reason.
Yes, he's good. Exceptionally good. And yes, he's young. But it's what Bryce Harper does with his talent and age off the field that's truly turning fans into believers.
In a market that has no shortage of high draft picks in the last decade, and in a society that has learned to document their every move, it's almost more surprising to hear no news than bad news. Whether it's the gregarious outings of some athletes or the disciplinary actions of two of the Redskins most talented players, Washington knows some of its stars like to dabble in an extracurricular lifestyle not always conducive to high athletic performance.
That's fine. I'm not here to debate their moral obligations.
Harper. though, doesn't even want to risk it. Usually, an athlete doesn't grasp the wear and tear of a sport until well into their prime. Meanwhile, Harper is just a teenager. He's exuding a mental fortitude and maturity of players twice his age, with the athleticism of a 19-year-old's body.
Obviously, Harper is not perfect and still has plenty of maturing to do; we learned that from last year's infamous blown kiss to an opposing pitcher. But his maturity doesn't preclude him from youthful competition. He told The Fan his proudest moment was stealing home on Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. As his team publicly takes back the park from Phillies fans, Harper helped and took home.
As he builds his home here in Washington, look how far Harper has come. In one year, he has come from being the butt of media jokes to making a joke out of the media - equipped with his own clothing line.
Now who's the clown, bro?