Curt Schilling has a message for his teenage self: do not start chewing tobacco.
For background: the former MLB pitcher revealed he’d been diagnosed with cancer in February 2014, and announced his cancer was in remission that June. Since then, the 48-year-old hasattributed his oral cancer to his use of chewing tobacco.
Now, in a post for The Players’ Tribune, Schilling pens a letter to his 16-year-old self, traveling back to the moment in which he took a dare to start chewing tobacco. He begins:
“Dear 16-year-old Curt,
Tomorrow at lunch, a kid is going to dare you to take a dip of Copenhagen. If you say yes, like I did, you’ll be addicted for the rest of your life. Well, the rest of your life up to the point when you are diagnosed with cancer.”
Schilling goes on to describe his addiction in graphic detail:
“You will brush your teeth and your mouth will bleed. Not light blood from your gums, but darker blood from deeper inside your mouth. That’s the chew destroying your tissue. You will get message after message, but your addiction will always win, until it wins the biggest battle.
If you say yes tomorrow, you will begin to kill yourself from the inside out. It’s difficult for you to understand in this current phase of your life, but by chewing tobacco, you are jeopardizing your participation in what will be some of your most important moments.”