I won’t get into sports much on this site, but I love playing and watching them. The baseball season has officially started and I’m excited for the long road ahead. There’s something about baseball that just makes my soul happy. It’s hard to explain. Growing up, I mostly followed Bo Jackson, my favorite player. I wanted to be a two-sport superstar just like him. Obviously that didn’t pan out, but I still remember the excitement I had whenever I got to see him play. It felt like something extraordinary could happen at any moment, and often it did.
Maybe one of the reasons I like sports is the ability of athletes to dazzle us with their prowess. Not much about sports has changed in the course of my lifetime. Yet every night ESPN fills an hour with highlights of these men and women doing spectacular things, pushing themselves to the limit and past, and achieving goals once thought impossible.
In his baseball career, Bo Jackson played for three Major League teams, therefore I rooted for those teams. He played the longest for the Kansas City Royals, then after a hip injury sustained in the NFL playoffs, had a two-year stint with the Chicago White Sox. He was traded to the then-California Angels, where he played for the 1994 season and then quietly retired. Fast-forward to 2002, I was sort of a baseball free agent, didn’t really have a team to call my own. In July I had just become engaged to my wife, and her family were rabid Anaheim Angels fans. I followed the team through the season and as luck would have it, watched them win their first and only World Series that year. It’s like it was meant to be. Bo Jackson had led me here and my wife and her family cemented it.
We now live close enough to Angel Stadium that we’re able to go to a few games every season. My two boys love going, and it’s a thrill to see their excitement. There’s a lot wrong with professional sports today, for sure. But underneath it all is a reflection of the struggles we all go through in our lives, distilled down to opposing colors, to balls and strikes, to blown calls and the idea of never giving up until the final out is called. I hope my boys (and little girl) will grow up feeling the same way I do. I hope they have heroes and dreams they can follow, and I hope neither let them down. It’s the first day of the season, and just like in life, the possibilities are endless.