Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Baseball Talk: Fandom is hard but baseball teaches you life lessons

Being a fan is hard:

Monday night on the way home from work, at the moment my beloved Texas Rangers were getting killed by the Toronto Blue Jays, a thought occurred to me.   My life would be so much simpler if I just wasn't a Rangers fan.   It's true.   The pain I have suffered as a Rangers fan over the years hurts my heart not to mention my head.   The memories of 2011 will never be erased and until/unless the Rangers make it back to the World Series and win.  That series will forever sit in the back of my mind as:  The one that should have been.  The lost chance.   The most heartbreaking moment of my sports life.  Being a sports fan isn't easy.  In fact, being a sports fan is hard work.  It hurts and it takes resolve.   It sounds silly but it is true.  You have to want to keep up with your team or you will be hopelessly left behind.  You have to work at staying positive or the baseball blues can take over. That's where I was Monday.  Baseball blues.

Then last night as I watch my first baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, clinch an NLCS shot, I jumped up from my couch, yelled "Yes!" at the top of my lungs, and started to cry.   Not sad tears but the happy tears of a fan who remembers the chances that slipped by in the past for the Cubs.   Just for a moment, I was that 7 year old little girl watching the Cubs on a Saturday afternoon in 1977 when they were hopelessly out of it and the Fighting Irish were on TV.  Everyone else was watching ND in the living room but not me.  Just for a moment I was back in my grandfather's bedroom in front of the little black and white TV with rabbit ears trying to get WGN to come in and listen to Jack Brickhouse hoping for a "Hey! Hey!".   Just for a moment, all the years and all the tears were worth it.

Double Earrings 
So this morning I got up and had renewed hope.  I donned my favorite Texas Rangers T-Shirt, doubled up on my Rangers earrings, added my other Rangers necklace (the last one lost it's luck recently),  added a couple Alex and Ani Rangers bracelets and I put on my lucky Rangers red shoes to cover up my blue and red toes and grabbed my Texas Rangers handbag. Dressing like a fan takes planning.  It is serious business!   I am only superstitious about sports.  I wasn't taking any chances.   I was as ready as I could get and now it was up to the team.

And leaving it up to the team is the problem.  You have to trust that your team is as prepared as they can get.  You have to know that mentally, they are going out there and giving it 100%.  You have to be prepared to watch the game unfold and hope the baseball gods have mercy on you that day.  You have to be willing to give yourself over to heartache.   You have to realize, even as much as you want them to win, you can't make them win.   You have to recognize that even with the possibility of a loss, your team has played like nobody expected them to play and done things that nobody thought they would do.

The Cole Hamels trade was suppose to be for 2016, right?   They were preparing for a starting staff of Hamels and a healthy Yu Darvish and Derek Holland for the first time in 2 years, right?  This team was hopelessly out of the race when the trade was made in July.   Everyone knew that they were done.  Everyone except them, Jeff Bannister and Jon Daniels.   You have to believe in your team. You have to go into the game with the thought:  This is the day Hamels pitches his best game of 2015.  This is the day Josh Hamilton sees the ball like he did in 2010.  This is the day that Prince Fielder breaks out of his slump.   This is the day that Elvis Andrus and Rougie Odor play flawless defense.   This is the day that Adrian Beltre hits a one leg kneeling, moon shot.  It may not be but  you have to believe.

Baseball is like life:

Tell us we can't. Tell us we won't. We'll show you we will. #NeverEverQuit:

Sometimes, with baseball, as in life, you have to risk the heartache in order to reap the glory.   Nobody ever finds love without risk.  Nobody ever makes a fortune without taking a chance.  Nobody ever gets the celebration without work.   There is so much about being a fan of a baseball team that reflects back on life.   There is pain, heartache, and disappointment.   There is joy, excitement, and triumph.   You open your heart when you love a team the same way you open your heart when you love a person.  It isn't the same love and it shouldn't be.  Baseball is important but if the Rangers win or if they lose, the sun comes up the next day.   If something happened to my husband, kids or mom, the sun wouldn't come up.  The day would be bleak.  Life would be without joy.   That is how it should be.  

But romance.  
Baseball is love.
Baseball is life.   
No really, the most important things in life, I learned from baseball.  

"Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off...The right pitch will come but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.":
*Whenever I expect a fastball, I get a curve.  That is life.  It is always throwing you what you aren't looking for.   But sometimes, the ball it throws is just the right ball to hit out of the park and that is when you have to swing with all your might and take your base.

"I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back." – Maya Angelou #quotes:
*Sometimes you have to throw balls back because they aren't for you.   It is possible to catch something meant for someone else.  Get rid of that ball as quick as you can so you are ready for your pitch.

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Never, ever quit.  That is the theme of the 2015 Texas Rangers.  It would have been easy to just cash in this season.  Yu Darvish's the Rangers Ace pitcher, had season ending surgery in spring training.   Derek Holland, their second best pitcher and Opening Day starter, left after an inning or two on Opening Day and wasn't really seen again until August.  Not the time to start pitching again but that is what happened.   Josh Hamilton has been in and out of the game all season, even before he was traded back to the Rangers.   Jurickson Profar hasn't been seen since...well, I don't know when Profar was last seen and his replacement, Rougie Odor wasn't exactly playing well when the season started.   They could have quit.  They easily could have quit.  They didn't.  They have never, ever quit all season.   You can't quit life either until the final strike is thrown.  Never give up because the next pitch could be the one you hit out of the ballpark.  

Happy Wednesday and GO RANGERS!!!

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