Last year June, Jordan and I moved to a portion of the Midwest where everyone is a Cubs’ fan. The 2016 World Series was fun watching it with our neighbors, many belonging to generations of fans waiting for Chicago’s moment, and when it came, how sweet it was for them. I was happy for them, enjoyed watching a great series, and told them all congratulations, but deep down inside I murmured to myself, “next year is our year.”
If Chicago could do it, why not Houston?
The Astros organization is not as old as the Cubs, but to be honest, it doesn’t feel that way. At least, not right now. Just like my neighbors, I too belong to a family who’s had generations of fans waiting for our moment in the spotlight. Since 1962, we’ve had grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and even our own children live in a world where Houston didn’t have a World Series title. Until now. This win is special for everyone but in many different ways. This is why it is special for me.
I don’t ever remember not rooting for the ‘Stros. My childhood summers were filled with these players on our television pretty much every night from April until September. I have vivid memories of sitting on the couch and Mom in her chair cheering, “Come on, Bidge!” as Biggio would step to the plate, no matter the inning. I saw them play in the Astrodome and Minute Maid, a few times the night before State testing (TAAS back then, and don’t worry, we passed). I sucked on Sour Patch straws and sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas” during the 7th inning stretch countless times in the stands. I remember tracking their wins and running into my parents’ bedroom to ask “what’s the magic number now?” after every victory.
I also remember a lot of heartbreak. I’ve disliked the Braves for years as they always seemed to be the ones to crush our post season dreams in the 90s, then the Brewers in the early 2000s. And then ’04 and the Cardinals came around and we started to sniff success, but Pujols ruined that for us, almost doing it again with that bomb in ’05 off Brad Lidge. Of course, we did finally break through to make it to the Fall Classic in ’05, and the second we made that final out in St. Louis and I jumped in the air in celebration, Jordan sent me a text that made me sit back down from the weight of my heart exploding. Oh yeah, there was something about this boy, alright.
Then we got swept by the White Sox. Ho hum. At that point, I was happy we at least made it, though plenty disappointed we couldn’t even squeeze out a win. But, I was in the throes of young love as my relationship with Jordan blossomed, and I wondered if the Astros would ever make it back to the World Series. It took a while, and some pretty awful seasons in ’11, ’12, and ’13, but we did, and it was oh so worth it.
Since moving to the Midwest, we pretty much don’t get any of the Astros games on TV. Every now and then they will show up on ESPN or FS1 and I’ll tune in, but this doesn’t happen enough, and certainly not every season, but I follow them online. I’ll type “Astros” in Google and get a shot of the current gamebox score before going to bed to see if they won and who they are playing next. Since moving out of Texas, and especially this past season, I watched all of their streaks, all of their stats, and plenty of highlights the next day via the internet. I had a feeling about ’17, and so did the city of Houston.
It wasn’t our best year, weather wise. Harvey dumped a record 51” of rain on the city, and I had to sit on the couch in the peak of morning sickness nausea and watch my family and friends struggle through the storm and after. But, there was a bright spot in all of this, a young baseball team with dreams, and they were currently on the road and praying with the rest of us, waiting to come back home and give Houston something to smile about. And you know, they sure did.
Watching the ALDS, the ALCS, and then the final out last night, I thought of my family. My aunts and uncles who were teens and kids when this franchise was formed. My grandpa, who watched them religiously from his chair, claiming he felt like he “needed to bring a glove” when someone bought him his first big screen and he couldn’t get over the size of seeing his Astros so up and close. I thought of my mom rooting for the ‘Stros and how badly I knew she wanted this, too. I thought of the city of Houston, and the smiles, and the fact that everyone there gets something to celebrate after a tough year. I fell into Jordan’s arms, the same boy who texted me 12 years ago when they clinched the pennant, and I let a few tears run down my cheeks. Because after all this time, after all these memories and all this waiting, this year was our year, and oh how sweet it is.
Go, go Astros!