Rangers eleventyasswhipping, Astros giveuplikepussies
Eighth grade, dressing in our cramped, fetid cinder-block dressing room. There’s the usual roar of conversation, laughs, jokes that begin to tail off and then there is silence. Elbows nudge, glances to a corner of the room lead other eyes in the silence.
Bart, already down to his briefs, has removed his undershirt. From his shoulders to his thighs, he is covered – covered! – in bruises. Not one square inch of unbruised skin. Belt impressions, fists, fingers. He dresses quickly, doesn’t say anything. Neither do we. By ninth grade, Bart is gone.
17, beautiful and innocent, Barbara was the prettiest of the three best friends that I was surreptitiously juggling in that fertile ground of restaurant work. Too pretty by far for me, she was also too innocent; out of them all, this one was the least likely to survive more than a few weeks.
One day I showed up for a shift and it was clear that something was wrong, something that the three of them knew about, wanted to talk about, but could only share their dark truth with a trusted…boyfriend…
Seems that Barbara’s father had decided it was time for her to learn all about the birds and the bees, so he locked her in the bedroom, sisters and mother outside, while he took the time to deliver the details in a hands-on fashion.
Richard fought with his father for his entire life, a physical relationship that destroyed any concept of self-worth that he might have had a chance for. At 17 he started using drugs, graduating to a significant IV crank addiction by his mid-20s. Three ex-wives, couple of kids, covered in tattoos because the pain felt like a punishment to him, he finally did time for armed robberies he committed to pay for his latest wife’s heroin addiction.
Forrest was eight when his father called him out to the back porch to see something. His father wanted him to watch while he stuck a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
My father was the dad that all my friends wished was their dad too. He was personable, very funny, sharp and perceptive. He also had enough of the rogue in him that made him even more attractive. He got middling marks at best in school – he was the kind of student who would call the instructors ‘teach,’ the guy who wouldn’t wear the motorcycle jacket but he’d attach the hook to the police car axle in the parking lot. He told me that story a long time before I saw it on the screen in American Graffiti, so I have no doubt that it was true.
Dad taught me everything you’d want your father to teach you. He was an excellent baseball player and he instilled that timeless love of the game in me. We played catch often. He was always up for working on my pitching. He took us to Astro games pretty much every summer.
He taught me the value of hard work. He ran a gas station with his father until they finally sold it in the early 70s as self-service company-owned stores began to replace the old franchises. He worked as a line mechanic for a dealership, drove a bread truck on the side and even was a part-time wrecker driver to make ends meet. His calm and personable manner earned him significant promotions at the dealership until he ended up being a general manager. We were very proud.
There were lots of other things that Dad taught me. Compassion, thinking situations through logically, what it means to be a good friend, and how to recognize crazy. Some of these lessons took many more years to sink in, but he was teaching them, whether my head was too thick to receive it or not.
Dad showed me how to be strong. When they wheeled him into the OR to see what was on his kidney, he never showed us the fear that we were all feeling. After they looked around and closed him back up instead of doing anything, he accepted that and never faltered.
We didn’t even know how close he was to the end until it was already upon us. He got to meet my wife but missed the wedding. He missed my children being born too, and I’m sure he would have been a fantastic grandfather. I miss his love and guidance and counsel every single day, but at least he was my dad for those years and I know I’m far more fortunate than many for that.
If you’re a father, I hope you can do your best to be the kind of father you’d want to have, regardless of your situation. You can’t do anything greater or of more importance than making your kids’ lives better.
If you’re not a father, maybe you can show your dad some appreciation for the sacrifices he made, even if they aren’t apparent.
Or, if you’re like the people I wrote about at the beginning, I hope you can find some peace and not make the same horrible mistakes those men did. Let that cycle of shame end with them and create a new legacy.
On this Father’s Day, Dallas Keuchel got the call due to Norris’ injury. Miraculously, he left in the bottom of the sixth with a 1-0 lead against the juggernaut Rangers. Of course, after a single by Cruz Mills brought in FeRod, who walked the bases full so he could hang a breaking ball to Kinsler for a three-run triple and the shitrain began to fall in torrents. Carpenter came in, gave up a single and then a home run to Beltre.
Lackadaisical play ensued in the field as the Astros gave up, resulting in well-deserved catcalls and hoots from the denizens of the GameZone. The fans pay for and expect better, but what they’re getting is the same watery explosive shit you’d expect from an infant, which is about the level of baseball IQ this team displays more often than not.
Watching this team mail it in on their way to shitsville every day is exasperating. After a brutal week, they have more favorable matchups next week so maybe they’ll care a little more when they aren’t being depantsed and beaten around the head by superior teams. Or maybe they’re about to go on a run of shitty baseball that we thought they’d graduated from. If that’s the case, look for a lot of changes to start happening soon, either with the team or with the managing.
Happy Father’s Day, y’all.