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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fair-Weather Fans? The Sun is Shining!

I normally hate to write about sports on here given the fact I am NOT a sportswriter and those who actually read this blog on a regular basis probably don't do it on the basis of my knowledge of the sports world. 'Course, this won't necessarily be an entry entirely about sports either.

But if you didn't stop by to read about sports, baseball, or the Houston Astros . . . go ahead and scroll down. I have to take a short opportunity to comment on what happened last night.

I was raised a fan of anything Denver when it came to sports. And, as Denver didn't have a baseball team until I was about 14, I was also raised a big St. Louis Cardinals fan. A BIG St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Two of my favorite sports-related items are the 8x10 of Ozzie Smith I own along with my Mark McGuire jersey I purchased the year he broke the home run record. My other favorite item would be the football signed by the entire Broncos team during John Elway's last year--and the year of their second Super Bowl win.

Denver, a few years back, was -- and rightfully so -- named the #1 Sports City in the U.S. In Denver it is not uncommon to find orange & blue Christmas trees adorning living rooms in December. In Denver it is not uncommon to find those who still believe Orange Crush is the greatest soda ever made and they still have nearly 30-year-old bottles of it sitting on their mantle piece to commemorate the first great period of Bronco's football.

This zeal and faithfulness doesn't diminish as you put distance between yourself and Colorado.

So when I first moved to Houston it was rather easy to resist any temptation to follow the Astros. But then time passed.

And I got serious in dating a girl living in SE Houston and began volunteering/acting at a small theatre in NW Houston, both about 45 minutes from my home. This happened about the same time the '99 baseball season began. Having nothing better to listen to on my long commutes in the evening, I would listen to the 'Stros on AM740.

With every game won, my attention grew. With every game lost, it grew even more. Having come from the Denver School of Fanaticism involving sports, the criticism launched at the 'Stros during any post-losing-game show baffled me. They could be coming off of an 8 game winning streak and still you'd hear comments like:

"This is the Astros just showing their true colors."

"The last 8 games were just a fluke."

"The Astros just suck."

And yet the Astros were just as much then, as they are now, Houston's team.

I know sentimentality usually makes for tedious reading. So if you would prefer to avoid such, then you ought to move on to the next post. But I must get a little sentimental at this point.

That summer, that year, constituted both one of the best AND one of the worst years of my life. I was young, very much in love, had a good job, making a decent living, bought my first new car, and I was having alot of fun. Within a year it had all fallen apart and I would find myself trudging through the darkest days of my life.

Back to that summer, though . . .

Do you ever associate a particular memory with a certain smell, taste, or sound? Of course, everyone does. Well, I associate that entire summer with Astros' baseball because the sounds of their play followed me everywhere I went.

And the 'Stros played a fairly succesful season. I went to see them play two or three times. It was their last season in the 'Dome. The next season they opened in what was originally Enron Field.

As the regular season came to a close, my grandmother passed away after a long and arduous battle with cancer. Little did I know that with the end of that summer season, and my grandmother's death . . . so many things were soon to change.

The night of her funeral, I sat quietly at a computer in Denver with my tie hanging loosely around my neck and constantly hitting the "refresh" button to bring up the current pitch and game stats only to painfully watch as the Astros season came to an end in the fourth game against the Braves.

There is some part of me now that wants to think this year, this season, with this win . . . maybe things will turn out the way they should have back in '99. Maybe I can find that same contentment with life again, maybe I'll be able to stop worrying, maybe I'll start to have more fun. Maybe I'll get to watch the Astros win the World Series.

Back then it was a stretch to ask such a thing. Especially with their pitching. Now it almost seems necessary. It definitely seems possible.

I don't know. I'm certainly not the person I was back in the summer of '99. In fact, I think the change is fairly dramatic.

And I will never have my grandmother back, or lost love . . .

But my grandmother is in a much better place. And love, once lost, should probably stay there. If it was worth keeping, we would have done a better job of holding on to it the first time. Right?

Yet I still hope the Astros win. I have forgotten how to cry. As a man, tears become a memory of childhood. But I was able to squeeze out a few tears with the 'Stros victory. It is, after all, okay to cry if it is about sports.

I look forward to those tears again. Go 'Stros!Posted by Picasa


Anonymous Sonya said...

Nice job, Kris. You reminded me of a few memories, too. Thanks for the trip back...

10/20/2005 5:38 PM  

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