Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Last Saturday was a road trip to Beaumont, Tx to watch the UTPA Broncs take on the Lamar Cardinals. I have family in Beaumont, so the trip was an opportunity to catch up and see Blake and his team play. We got off rather late, but I was sure that I could get us there by first pitch. Those plans were thrown for by a flat tire on the outskirts of Austin. A driver rolled by and pointed out a tire quickly going flat. No worries I thought, I will pull into this gas station and grab some air. Of course, the air was out of order. Does it piss anyone else off that fewer gas stations offer air and water these days? They seem to only offer this at a cost now and frequently those companies servicing the equipment don’t keep it working. This is the first flat I have had on this car and was thrown off by the spare. For the life of me, I could not get the spare on…so, I ran across the highway to see if the oil change place had air. They did, so if you happened to be driving by Saturday on Highway 290 that was me carrying the tire across the street. Damn…that sucked. Got air and “rolled” the tire back across the street. I decided tire smudged hands were better than another “ab” workout. I asked the guy at the oil change place if there was a tire shop nearby…no you have to go back toward Austin, he said. Forget that…I decided to keep moving forward. Literally 3 miles down the road, I am saying to Julie…hopefully, we can find a tire store along the way. “You mean like that one, Julie asks?’ I look across the highway and there is Leal’s Tire Repair. A quick U turn, a short wait and the tire is being repaired…until it wasn’t. The dreaded words…the screw damaged the sidewall when the tire went flat. That’s okay…put the spare on the other rim, because the spare does not fit. “What do you mean it won’t fit…this is a universal rim.” Then, he spun it around so that it fit neatly on the lugs…damn. Oh, well…now I know. I paid the man and pushed onward.
We made it to Beaumont about the 4thwe only saw him strike out the last time up. With a runner on third, the pitcher let loose a wide slider that Blake was unable to jump out far enough to corral. The run scored and I suspected that Blake would not bat again. With two outs, the Cardinal Coach tried to steal a bag, but the throw down was on the mark and the runner was way out. Honestly, it was worth the trip to see that throw. A pinch hitter came on to hit for Blake in the beginning of the 8th and Blake’s day was done. The Broncs tried to mount a comeback, but came up short…losing 5 to 3. We said hello to Blake and then they were off to eat. As freshman parents…we are still figuring out the routine. We had hoped to get a chance to eat with our son, but instead we went with my cousin Scott to Pappadeaux and had an awesome meal. If you ever have the chance to visit this place, I promise you will not be disappointed… http://pappadeaux.com/home/. Anyway, we got to catch up with Scott and hear about his daughter Blair Richmond tearing it up at New Mexico Jr. College. Her team won their conference championship and they are gearing up to play their conference tournament next weekend. If they win the tournament, they are headed to Kansas to play in the National JUCO tourney…very cool stuff. Blair has earned a starting spot and is hitting 44% from three point range in conference…which is simply terrific. It turns out that the local college coach at Lamar had recruited Blair, but headed off to accept the head job strangely enough at UTPA. It would certainly be crazy if she ended up there next year. We managed a quick visit with Blake at the hotel before he had to leave to make his curfew. With the storm Titan headed in on Sunday, we decided to skip the Sunday game and head home. After spending Saturday without a computer, I was glad to be home with a chance to catch up on the blogs at the Gab. IHM’s blog was one that really hit home for me. It was simply a great blog, in case you missed it…here it is:
Reading about Coach Beck put me in a very good place and got me to thinking back on the people in my life that had an impact on me. Teachers and coaches and even a band director were important in shaping who I am. But, I could not point to one person like Coach Beck. Monday night, I was flipping through TV shows when I happened upon the NFL channel. It was one of those Football Life shows featuring Vince Lombardi. When it got to the part where Lombardi was announced to be terminal and described how all of his former players began to travel to see him to say goodbye. I was again remembering times past and mentally flipping through people and events…but still, I could not pick “that” person. As I sat down to watch a bit of the MLB channel, the Cleveland Indians were being discussed. I suddenly knew who “that” person was…David Gentiles. You may remember back in 2009 that I wrote about my friend’s passing on TSN. David was a youth minister with a love for people and baseball. Our daughters were the same age and we ended up coaching fast pitch softball together. David played baseball at Baylor and had two high school teammates that played professionally. He knew baseball and loved to share his knowledge of the game. He had an amazing way of mentoring. He would teach or share and make it seem like you figured it out yourself. He was the most unselfish man I have ever met. He was a single dad…a father of three daughters. His ex-wife simply decided to leave one day and it was clear that David struggled at times to raise his daughters. But, raise them he did…without a single complaint.
As a youth minister, David knew kids of all ages and he liked nothing more than to go watch them play sports or perform at school. I had no idea until David’s funeral, just how many lives David changed. One of the tributes to David I found to be extremely accurate. “David had a way of making each person feel like they had a special relationship with him”. Driving home last weekend, my wife made a comment that caught me completely off guard. She asked me…”do you know who would have loved watching Blake play college baseball?” When she answered David, a broad smile broke across my face. Yes…indeed he would have. Each year, around this time of year, I always looked forward to talking to David about his favorite team, the Cleveland Indians. I asked him one time why a kid from Louisiana was an Indians fan; he looked at me and said I don’t know, they just seemed like a team that needed a fan. If you remember the Indians back in the 60s and 70s…they were not very good, but that did not matter to David. He loved underdogs and he loved his Indians. I don’t know if I have ever felt so bad for a team losing the World Series as I did in 1997. The Marlins beat the Indians and I knew that David was really disappointed. That was a very good Indians team and one that I thought would win it all. Typical of David, he did not complain…but rather talked about the plays made by the Marlins to win that series. December 18th 2013 was the fourth year since David’s passing and I still cannot bring myself to remove his number from my phone book. In the years since his death, I am just now realizing how much I learned from David about things like compassion and humility. It is why; I always keep an eye on the Indians and secretly hope that they will win it again soon. RIP David…we sure miss you.
This was David's service. How many people do you know that have a funeral service on a baseball diamond? It was so crowded that we were a hundred yards from the stands...
There is much more to David than I have laid out here. I am amazed to go back and read how David is remembered. I am including a few links to check out if you are so inclined. The story about the book 90 Minutes in Heaven is pretty amazing…
I was surprised to read on Tuesday that Ian Kinsler wished 162 losses on his old Ranger teammates. Reading the he called Jon Daniels a “sleazeball” was of less surprise. The core of Rangers that twice made the World Series is slowly being replaced. The more I think about it, I really don’t have an issue with Ian Kinsler being pissed off at being traded. There was one thing in the article that did catch my eye: “Kinsler said in the story that he was asked to bear too much of a leadership role with the team after Michael Young left and didn't like being asked to move to first base in 2013 to make room for middle-infield prospect Jurickson Profar (something the Rangers didn't do after Kinsler voiced his reluctance).” Why would a veteran player like Kinsler have an issue with being asked to take a leadership role? I would have thought watching Michael Young all those years would have given Ian better guidance. I also thought the tweet that Josh Hamilton put out was lame…
Not any fun being in the Texas doghouse, is it @IKinsler3? Hamilton also commented that he won’t be the only villain in Texas anymore. Sorry Josh, I don’t think many Ranger fans will see Kinsler as a villain. You still have the top spot in the doghouse. More importantly, why can’t Josh Hamilton just let stuff in Texas go? It would seem that he would have his hands full trying to figure out how to not suck again this year.
That is all I have today, but will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."
The first thing was, I learned to forgive myself. Then, I told myself, "Go ahead and do whatever you want, it's okay by me."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own.