Friday, October 28, 2011
The Astros, Mickey, And Dave
In honor of the baseball season ending tonight with the Cardinals winning the World Series, here is a post from October 20, 2005 about baseball and brothers and birthdays.
Houston is out of ICU and breathing on our own again! The Astros erased forty-five years and two days of 'almost' and booked a reservation in the World Series by knocking off a game, battered, and classy St. Louis Cardinals team last night by a 5-1 count. Monday night's heartache became Wednesday's joy-or maybe relief- as Roy Oswalt turned in a suffocating performance on the mound in leading his teammates into the baseball promised land. Growing up in little town in Nebraska, it is hard to grasp how contagious fan support is for a metropolitan professional sports franchise and how it overshadows every other topic of conversation. Bradley Crider, one of our Social Science/Bible teachers at WCS, related to me when I arrived this morning how he joined a crowd of 1,500 at an Academy Sporting Goods store before the last out to be one of the first to purchase the now obligatory commemorative T-shirt. He questioned the sanity of a late night souvenir run but as his lovely wife, Wanda, reassured him, "Honey, it's history." (My wife had no such comment.)
Today is also special in the annals of baseball lore. Seventy-four years ago today, in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, Mickey Mantle made his entrance onto the world stage. The Mick, heir to the legendary Joe DiMaggio as New York Yankee center fielder, is considered by some to be the top switch hitter ever, possessing breathtaking power from both sides of the plate. Potentially one of the greatest players of all-time, Mantle's career was hampered by recurring leg injuries, leaving baseball historians to wonder what his legacy might have been. Today is also the birthday of my older brother, Dave. Mickey Mantle had no impact on my life but outside of my parents, Dave had the biggest imprint on the person I would become. Like many brothers close in age, we had an often combative relationship. Of course, being younger and smaller, I felt picked on and persecuted. Biblical sets of brothers often had rocky relationships. Esau was going to kill his twin, Jacob, and Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery and then let their father believe he was dead! Our relationship wasn't QUITE as volatile as those but we had our moments. If you read Homer Hickham's autobiography, Rocket Boys, on which the movie October Sky was based, you see brothers with similar struggles with the exception that their skirmishes escalated to near violence on occasion. Dave and I were more like Wayne and Kevin Arnold in the television show, The Wonder Years. In that sitcom, Wayne delighted in making his younger brother, Kevin, miserable. That is how I viewed our kinship. I know Dave has an alternate translation of our early years and his interpretation might be the more accurate of the two. Once when I was coaching high school baseball in Georgia, a fight erupted in right field during a practice drill. The combatants were brothers Jeff and Greg Clayton. One of them apparently had his fill of the other, gloves were dropped, and punches were thrown. Their folks were angry and disappointed with them but I could relate. Sometimes brothers fight. Those two have recovered nicely and Dave and I have also patched things up. In fact, Dave is flying from Wichita, Kansas to Houston tomorrow to hold a tennis clinic for us at Westbury Christian. Dave is one of the finest, if not the best, high school tennis coaches in the country, having won almost 35 Kansas state team championships between his boys and girls squads at Wichita Collegiate School. The last three weeks, I have been cleaning my apartment to welcome the brother who I at times I despised as a child. And you know, Jacob and Esau and Joseph and his brothers worked out their differences as well. And so, to Dave on his birthday-thanks for everything, I forgive you, please forgive me, and Go Huskers!
Applicable quote of the day:
"It takes two men to make one brother."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 5:45 PM