Daulton’s Story is Sad, Not Funny
I recently touched on the topic of gambling by ex-athletes and came to the conclusion that, if controlled, gambling is not necessarily a problem. I truly believe the gambling that Charles Barkley and others do is pure entertainment and a way for ex-athletes to come back down to earth after retirement. I even went as far as to say that I would rather see Barkley gambling with a sportsbook than recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. This article is not nearly as positive, and I am going to examine the other end of the spectrum. I am going to touch on the topic of when ex-athletes can’t find a constructive medium, like sports betting, to shed their demons. Actually, I am going to look at one subject in particular. I am going to take a look at Darren Daulton.
I recently went through a rather rough time in my life. In March, I got out of a two-year relationship, which was almost immediately followed by a close relative’s diagnosis with cancer. At that time I was also finishing my master’s degree at the University of Florida. This might seem like a positive, except that all the friends that I had once relied on to be my support were getting ready to leave and had little time for a dramatic like myself. OK, you are starting to wonder why you should care about this—if at all. I am not here to complain, but to try to relate to Mr. Daulton. This time in my life was extremely painful for me, and there were times where fantasy seemed like reality. Most publications have tried to bash Daulton and poke fun of him. This is not what I am here to do. I actually saw Daulton out at a local bar here in Gainesville recently and the first emotion that came to me was not to poke fun of him, but to feel sorry for him. This man is one of the greatest examples of how athletes can fall so far from grace. It was only back in 1997 that Daulton was celebrating a World Series victory with the Florida Marlins and now here he was, hanging out with a bunch of college students, half of whom had no idea who he was. I knew, and I felt terrible about it.
If you don’t know who Daulton is or his story, let’s get you up to speed. Daulton made his Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983 and stayed there until he was traded to the Marlins in 1997. The Marlins would win the series that year and Daulton would retire a champion. Daulton was a three-time all-star and the glue that held the close-knit Phillies ball club together. Upon his retirement, Daulton was passed up for a managing position, divorced his playmate wife, and did a two-month stretch in the Pinellas County Jail. From that point, things really started to unwind. Daulton started to consider himself a member of the Fifth Dimension. This dimension is a world that involves telepathy, energy transfers, astral planes, and other parallel universes. He explains this dimension as being ‘just is,’ where yesterday, today, and tomorrow all happen at the same time.
“I’ve been thrown in jail five or six times,” Daulton says from his home in Tampa. “Nicole thinks I’m crazy. She blames everything on drugs and drinking. But I don’t take drugs and I’m not a drunk. Nicole just doesn’t understand metaphysics.”
It is exactly these types of responses that have everyone baffled. Daulton has even gone as far as to say that his friends can’t understand him because they are limited to five senses, hinting that he is not. Daulton says he is tuned into higher powers. With his friends baffled and his wife gone, Daulton’s support group has surely dwindled.
Daulton now mainly spends his time at home in Tampa, alone, writing and preaching his magical stories. It’s amazing how truly deafening silence can be when you are alone. Some of his writings read like riddles.
“Reality is created and guarded by numeric patterns that overlap and awaken human consciousness, like a giant matrix or hologram,” writes Daulton.
He is especially prone and familiar with the number 11. He says he sees this number everywhere: in license plates, houses, and always on the clock. This, to me, is a blatant sign that this man needs help, but other columnists only want to pick on this man and vilify him in print. Why not try to get another human being some help?
The saddest moment of all is when he starts to talk about the end of the world as only a person who needs mental help can. Daulton thinks the world will end on December 21, 2012, the date the Mayan civilization believed the world would end. It is also the last day on the Mayan calendar. What might be Daulton’s strongest cry for help comes from his next quote.
“I can’t wait to disappear,” he says. “I’d disappear today if I could.”
Darren Daulton, I want you to trust me when I (and others) say that we don’t want you to disappear. We want you to get better and live a happy life, forgetting about all the troubles of your past. To tell you the truth, I don’t think your behavior is embarrassing at all. On the contrary, I think the behavior of those who mock him is. To come around full circle, think the next time before you judge the innocent gambling that Charles Barkley is doing; it could be a lot worse. I could be writing a story about ‘Sir’ Charles doing a year in state prison on charges of cocaine trafficking—or even worse, a story about Barkley losing his mind. Thank the Lord that his hardware is still in tact, and I don’t think gambling is going to affect that.