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on becoming an astros fan

on becoming an astros fan published on

(or: furthering my transitions)

it all started about a year and a half ago now. the holiday season of 2016 had been particularly more depressing than usual, and as winter drug on into 2017, i started to tumble deeper and deeper into myself. i recognized it, and knew i needed help to stop the fall, so by mid-spring i decided to reach out to some of my oldest friends – those i had left behind in past transitions, through choices that were mine and not mine – and thought i’d send out letters, across the city and the country. i thought i’d do this in july, giving myself plenty of time to think about what i would say and to whom. by late july i was starting to hate myself; i’d given myself six months to complete this simple task, confident that getting it done would be so rewarding, and i couldn’t even accomplish that. and then harvey happened.

i started to break out of my comfortable cocoon of self-pity by going and helping friends and strangers affected by the storm. i found the more i gave, the better i felt. and in my twitterverse, connections were being made. i was making new friends. growing deeper roots in older friendships. one of the things i started to notice on twitter was that to distract from all of the exhaustion, long-suffering, and depression that is hurricane recovery, paying more attention to what they talked about sports-wise was pretty simple to get into. i mean, i already had a base understanding of baseball. but the more i paid attention, the more i realized my friends weren’t just baseball fans, they were *astros* fans. and there is a difference. not only in the types of fans that made them. there is a difference because they were fans of *these boys*

and that’s when i started to pay attention to the team. a butterfly tries her wings as the hurricane-ravaged area rallied to rebuild, these boys were so incredibly inspirational to people. and then they¬†defeated the red sox in four games; by then i was paying a little more attention… i’d watch an inning or two, i’d started to see their expressions. i instantly fell in love with yuli’s pineapple top (#lapina!).¬† and then defeated the yankees in the alcs in seven games, and i noticed i was excited. about the world series. you know, a *baseball* thing. i am not a sportsball fan. but these boys – this city – my friends… i couldn’t not pay attention. i had to watch the world series. and then – well, i don’t have to tell y’all, you know – those boys won the world fuckin’ series in game fuckin’ 7 in the 9th fuckin’ inning and oh, holy fuck! these boys!

during the off season, throughout the winter and into the spring of 2018, i started to transition myself. i began to finally hear back from the friends i’d finally written to at christmas time. the general consensus being i’d left them all too far behind, and it was time to move on with new friends. which, honestly, though sad, confirmed what i knew in my heart. i’d outgrown them. i needed more like-minded friends to keep my growth going. and as is i’m sure, the regular, in any championship-winning city, there was a lot of off-season stories written about the boys. i read about alex bregman, and how he learned spanish to better communicate with his spanish-speaking teammates, as well as help them better communicate with their english speaking teammates. i learned about josh reddick’s field for special needs kids. i read about the boys working out together, hanging out together, encouraging each other, being friends. being actual role models. and i noticed i wasn’t reading about party boys. or wife-beaters. or douche-canoes. these were genuinely nice guys.

and i guess it was about mid-april i decided i was a fan. officially. i think that’s when i first noticed the #hugsforhomers hashtag, and needed to know what that was about. naturally, it’s adorable. the more i decided to open up about becoming a fan, the more friends i made. the more i decided to peek out from behind these walls of protection i’d build around myself for decades, the more i discovered people just like me. and that we could be friends, if i’d just let them in. just a little.

so here i am. it’s the end of august, the boys are trying today to pull ahead in their first place position for the division. we’re deep into the second half of regular season play. i’ve been to minute maid park for the first time in well over a decade (it was still enron field the last time i went). i am now the proud owner of not one, not two, but *three* astros shirts. and i’ve missed only a handful of games on tv since june. what the bf thought was “cute” a few months ago, he’s already tired of. he’s never been any sort of sports fan, so i’ve watched a fair share of games on my own in another room, or at another place. and i don’t mind that, either, because it’s allowed me to grow my circle of friends. and that has been the best part of becoming an astros fan. those connections. that friendship. the constant encouragement to #neversettle.