Was the Adenhart tribute kosher?

Celebrating Angels douse Nick Adenharts jersey after winning AL West title (photo courtesy Gawker.com)

Celebrating Angels douse Nick Adenhart’s jersey after winning AL West title (photo courtesy Gawker.com).

Inappropriate? Ironic? Or a tribute? Before we judge the Angels pouring alcohol on the jersey of someone killed by a drunk driver, there’s one thing to consider: Not all drinking is the same.

I belong to a culture where alcohol (specifically wine) is an important part of our religious rituals. We drink it every Friday night at Sabbath services. We drink it at weddings, birth celebrations, bar mitzvahs, and holidays. We drink four cups at Passover, and we ceremoniously spill ten drops to remind ourselves that our freedom came at the cost of others’ suffering. Wine is important enough that we sanctify it (with a prayer called the Kiddish) before we drink it. For us, wine is tradition, celebration, ceremony, and something that isn’t taken lightly or carelessly.

Then, there are other types of drinking.

Some people drink simply because it’s the weekend. Some people drink because so they can get up the nerve to ask someone for a date. Some people drink because their parents drink, and their parents learned to drink from their parents. For some, alcohol is a hobby, a pain killer, or a way to show that they’re an adult. For some, the only goal of drinking is to get buzzed. They don’t get any enjoyment from the beverages they drink. And for some, drinking is a prison. They have gotten so addicted to it that it overruns their lives.

I won’t speculate the kind of drinking the driver did before the accident killed Nick Adenhart and his friends. I doubt that it was the type of joyful, mindful drinking that people of my culture do or even the Angels did when they won the AL West championship.

There is drinking that celebrates and affirms life, and there is drinking that dulls and imprisons the spirit. Consider that when looking at Nick Adenhart’s beer-drenched jersey.