Hits and Errors of a “Thankful” Man
On a day when we all sit down with our families and gather to feast, reflect and also reminisce on the past year since our last Turkey Day the one word synonymous with today is Thanks. It is also a day I am going to tell you about something I have hidden away from most people who know me, and finally feel needs to be addressed now.
No, I am not sick or getting worse with a terrible illness, but there is a ailment that has attached itself to me. Since about June of this year I have been foreclosed, repossessed and bitterly had to face the reality that my life choices, no matter how much I have enjoyed them, were wrong turns at best. I guess you can see a positive that when they came and picked-up my new old car I went immediately to a pawn shop and purchased a 21-speed bike so I could attend all 81 Tampa Bay Rays games this season.
And there lies the one positive that has kept me plugging away and not giving up. Even as I sit with my little laptop on my lap right now stealing/borrowing/sharing a WiFi connection through a local coffee shop, the reality is that I have never given up. Even in the rain and slick roads I tumbled my way to the Trop to get satisfaction and pleasure from the sport that has never abandoned me, or made me feel worthless. And for that I owe a lifetime of gratitude and admiration to the Rays.
When I finally slip my head down onto a pillow while doing a real life 24/7 backyard camping trip in a friend’s backyard because I am penniless, but not within the limits of emotional bankruptcy, I and wealthy thanks to the baseball friends and colleagues I know surrounding my Rays lifestyle. Some might say I have finally scrapped the bottom of my collective barrel, but I see it more as a way to finally treasure what I had, what I lost, and hopefully in the future, what is ahead for me.
This is the first time I have admitted publicly and to more than a few people the plight I have thrust myself into since I first started to pull my retirement savings a little at a time since April 2008 to secure my time with my Rays family at Tropicana Field. So on a day like today I give a huge bushel and gaggle of thanks to the many and the few who have passed paths with me in my Rays adventure.
This is not a solemn time, or one made to make people think they need to help. This is just me, an overly proud and optimistic person finally coming clean on the true extent of the damages. But please, do not despair, I cooked myself an amazing steak today with green beans and corn on the cob and reflected on the past year with great baseball joy and a personal admiration that I am stronger than I realize at times.
I am stuffed with the optimism of the coming months leading up to the Rays Fan Fest and again seeing members of my extended family again. Full to the gills of determination and persistence that by April things can be better. I am never homeless as long as I see Tropicana Field. I am not jobless for the work of following this team and writing about it fills me with the joy and reasoning to travel on. The ultimate “Thank You” is to the people who grace and read my passages day in and day out. For if it wasn’t for you…
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner