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Boston Red Sox In Danger Of Losing Their Voice To Cigarettes

As the Boston Red Sox color commentator for 21 years, Jerry Remy is a staple of the city. With his ubiquity in Red Sox Nation, he seems almost immortal. But now that Remy, a long-time smoker, has disclosed his battle with lung cancer, we have received a wake-up call to the dangers of nicotine.

NESN Play-by-play commentator Don Orsillo stunned Red Sox Nation as he delivered the news of Remy’s cancer struggles before Wednesday night’s game between the Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. Remy, 56, had missed several spring training broadcasts after an infection that led to pneumonia, and attempted a return to the booth at the start of the 2009 season before suffering another setback.

Remy himself said of his struggles, “I want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or disruptions…I hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children.”

The most important thing right now is that he fully recovers, but leave it to “Rem-Dawg” to think of everyone but himself in this tough time. Smoking is responsible for about 87 percent of all deaths from lung cancer, so it’s not exactly shocking these days how detrimental cigarette smoking is to our health as a nation.

But unfortunately, it’s usually when famous, beloved figures like Remy face cancer that a larger number of people take notice and/or do something about it. Over 8,000 people in Massachusetts die every year from complications of smoking, so is it really going to take the loss of the voice of the Red Sox for us to improve?

Remy is a four-time Emmy winner and was named Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2004. He played for the Red Sox from 1978 to 1985 and is the president of Red Sox Nation. He grew up in Somerset, Mass. and currently resides in Weston, a Boston suburb. Simply put, the man is a Boston legend.

The loss of Remy in the sports world would reverberate past the Charles River, through Cambridge, Allston and Brighton, and throughout Massachusetts before spreading through all of New England and eventually America. At 56 years old, Remy is far too young to die, but could sadly face an early demise due to a problem America has had for decades and needs to end by any means necessary.

Ultimately, the problem isn’t that convenience stores continue to sell cigarettes, or that the government continues to tax them. The problem is us. It’s up to us as a country to stand up to nicotine and kick the habit. I have smoked cigarettes before but have never experienced an addiction, so to avoid sounding like a hypocrite, I must say that I am aware of how harrowing the battle to curb smoking addiction can be.

But if we want to live well into our 60s and enjoy our “golden years,” we need to be stronger than cigarettes. We need to be as strong as Remy was when he tried to come back to the booth at the beginning of the season.

To Red Sox Nation: Because of the extreme dangers that cigarette smoking poses, the voice of our generation is in a battle for his life. For now, we can hope and pray that he’ll fully recover and be back in the booth sometime soon. But if we lose Remy to lung cancer, can we finally take notice of this problem as a region? As a nation?

May 7, 2009 - Posted by | baseball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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