With This Ring….

 

Anyone who knows me understands how much baseball means to me. Anyone who knows me understands what this season continues to signify to me. I shared some of those thoughts a while back.

I struggled with whether or not to join the thousands of people lining up the night before in order to have a chance at getting one of these earlier this season when they announced a giveaway promotion.

After years of rooting for my beloved team and going through this incredible season it was so very tempting but I decided to avoid the crowds and see if I couldn’t find one later on down the road. Fortunately enough one was gifted to me just the other day! I’m not sure what looks better the incredibly well-crafted ringing or the dashing center fielder Jake Marisnick. (Yeah, I said it. haha)

seriously? It’s not even fair how good looking this guy is. 😉

 I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to truly describe what this ring really means to me but I’ll try.

I’m not a memorabilia guy. My “collectibles” at this point in my life consist largely of Lincoln Logs, analgesic cream, and orphaned sippy cup lids.

Some guys are really into sports memorabilia. They get the jerseys and signatures and all that. They may see a ring like this as something to hold on to for a while and then sell or trade it down the line.

To others it is a neat souvenir. They’ll put it on their office desk, show it off for a day, and promptly forget it’s even there.

For me it’s something much more. Hell, for me, it doesn’t even belong solely to me.

With this ring I share a lifetime of stories and coaching and anecdotes and “who was better” discussions with my father. My father, incidentally, was the proud and popular Spanish voice of the Houston Astros throughout the 80s and into the early 90s. I can’t count how many times I sat in the booth with him watching Jose Cruz, Ken Caminiti, Craig Biggio, and the rest.

My dad coached my peewee team and no matter how many times I struck out or just begged for a walk because I knew getting a hit was off the table he always encouraged me.

With this ring I share with my father the difficult months after Harvey when the Astros were our only escape from a reality we are still struggling to reconcile ourselves with and develop a path forward within.

This ring is his as much as it is mine.

With this ring I share a brotherhood with one of the most influential people in my life. Our shared love of music and baseball formed the basis of the kind of friendship that only a blessed few ever receive. I will never fully square the debt I owe him for his love and for teaching me so much about songwriting, for putting his arm around me as I slumped in a corner suffering the kind of heartache that can only be felt at such a young age, and for inspiring me to just be a better me.

David his beautiful wife Tina, and my son, Young Master Oliver at a ball game.

During the 2017 season he experienced a profound loss. His entire family did.  The Astros provided him, and all of us, with something to hold on to. When we didn’t want to talk about it, (or couldn’t) we could pick apart AJ Hinch’s lineup card. We could go back and forth on whether or not Gattis was awesome. Incidentally, judging by the last month or so, David was right and I was so very wrong. He usually is and I usually am.

This ring is his as much as it is mine.

With this ring I share a renewed connection and love for another friend I’d long since lost touch with. Where did Chris and I see one another for the first time in a decade? We saw each other at Minute Maid Park.

Chris and I at Minute Maid

Since that afternoon we’ve chatted almost daily. It’s been fascinating to see how much we’ve changed and yet somehow managed to remain those angsty teenagers relentlessly clinging to…well…whatever it is we’re were clinging to back then. Haha

I’m astounded at how radically some of our opinions have changed over the years.

He likes Led Zeppelin now!

I love the Smiths now!

We both finally came to our senses.

We’ve both been through our fair share of life in our years apart and I think we would have been better off together through it all but we’re together now and that’s enough.

He, David, and I have a shared text message thread and it is never lower than the third spot on my phone for as often as we talk throughout the day. As if we are still sitting on Dave’s sofa or on a park bench, the three of us are goofing around, telling stories, ranking songs, and talking Astros baseball.

This ring is his as much as it is mine.

With this ring I share a revived connection with a girl who I’ve known since those days on the peewee field flailing about just trying to at least look like I might make contact with the ball. Jennifer and I had not spoken in a number of years due to reasons and circumstances that just don’t seem to matter anymore.

I’m grateful to once again be back in touch, sharing music, trading bits of trivia, and as much as anything, rooting for our boys on the field. Throughout that incredible run up to the Series, every cheer or nervous “oh man I can’t take this anymore” we shared, so too did it seem like we slowly began to reaffirm a bond I’d long thought broken and discarded. I’ve missed her friendship more than I’d allowed myself to admit to anyone including myself.

This ring is hers as much as it is mine.

With this ring I share the the joy of newfound passion with my buddy Jon. Jon was hardly a sports fan. Our relationship was rooted mostly in music, cooking, and trying to one-up the other in that timeless game of “What’s grosser…” and “What would you rather do?” As the season went on and he saw my enthusiasm and that of the entire city he found himself wondering what all of the hubbub was about. All of the sudden I began getting text messages.

“What’s the infield fly rule?”

“Wait, why is that guy out? The ball went foul.”

“Oh man! Did you see that catch!?”

One of the most intelligent and creative people I know, I’ve learned so much and been challenged to examine issues from different perspectives. Now was my turn to help him learn something new, to expose him to something I knew a little bit about.

He’s a very tech-savvy and analytical guy so of course he has now digested the entirety of 200 years of baseball statistics. He’s not just watching Astros games. He’s watching random games from the national league, keeping track of farm clubs, and trolling other teams’ fans in their online discussion forums. Jon is now a baseball fan…a big one. This ring is as much his as it is mine….though he needs to stop calling them “points.” It’s baseball. They’re called “RUNS” damn it.

With this ring I share a tender but also tumultuous season with my son Oliver.

We were hit hard by Harvey and I can’t fathom a more patient and courageous child. As I endeavored to rescue my parents, get them settled into our home, battle back the waters that threatened to flood our home running around like a madman trying to learn how to operate a generator, find gasoline, keep the milk cold, and just get through the next hour or two he watched and waited for any second we could find to grab a hug, for me to cradle him, or take him on a piggy-back ride while lugging bags of laundry and extension cords around the house. He was a such a champ.

We had spent the whole season cuddled up watching every single game. He chanted “Altuuuuuveeee” every time Jose came to bat and we cheered every time that dreamboat Marisnick seemed to defy gravity catching a line drive in center. 

This boy has stood by my side every day of his life and we are bound for life. I could not be more proud of anyone. Seeing him handle the upheaval, the loss of electricity, the heat and humidity, the complete disruption to his routine was humbling. Once we got the power back and TV back on we went back to our routine with my dad watching every game right on through that magical World Series win.


This ring is definitely as much his as it is mine.

I love you son. Thank you.

Go Astros!

#NeverSettle
#EarnedIt

Be Well and Kind,
Jason

 

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