Last week allowed us to witness to redemption stories in US American sport: the Houston Astros and Kyle Larson (USA).
The Houston Astros reached their third World Series in five years and although they failed to win (they lost to the Atlanta Braves 4-2) they managed to assuage critics and make a point that they are one of the best teams in the last decade, legitimately.
Their last World Series won was in 2017. They then made it to the World Series again in 2019. But for many fans there is an asterisk behind those achievements, as it was later revealed that the Astros had engaged in prohibited electronic sign-stealing techniques en route to their 2017 title.
Eventually their responsible Manager and General Manager resigned. Now came Dusty Baker (USA). All merits to him -the first manager to win both the American League and the National League- and to its All-Star roster that included five players nominated to the Golden Gloves. Two won the award: Yulieski Gurriel (CUB) and Carlos Correa (PUR). Other All-Star members of the team were José Altuve (VEN), Michael Brantley (USA) and Ryan Pressly (USA).
A redemption story that came full circle was that of Kyle Miyata Larson. Last year he was fined, fired from his team and suspended by NASCAR after he said a word with racial connotations during a simracing event.
Larson learned form his mistakes, worked on diversity and inclusion-related initiatives, and thrived racing on dirt-tracks, winning some of the most important races in the world.
This year Hendrick Motorsports have him a shot in their team and Larson responded: he won 10 races -almost a third- including two sets of three consecutive races, and four of the last five. He was undoubtedly the best NASCAR driver this year.
It was good to see him win. Sport offers a chance for people to redeem themselves after making mistakes, and hopefully these two examples can inspire people to seek redemption, and purpose, through sport.