Derek, Darvish, and Dementia
I contemplated writing a billion words to fully describe where I’m at right now. A Billion – literally. A billion desperate, terrified words about how all of what I have written about thus far, has been absolute tripe. How I’ve mistakenly thrown water onto the fire of Rangers optimism, all the while thinking it was lighter fluid. A Dostoevsky-esque dissertation describing disappointment, disdain, and despicable use of alliteration to land an idea. 2015 has been a whirlwind, being less like the kind in an old Wiley Coyote/Roadrunner Saturday morning cartoon and more along the lines of a Bill Paxton/Helen Hunt/Cow torpedo vibe. (Fun Fact, it cost Warner Brothers $38 million dollars less to make that movie than Jon Daniels and his boys paid to lock up our own little dervish of ailment and offensive struggle for the next few years.) But I digress. I have no hard feelings toward Mr. Shin-Soo Choo, just a bit more disappointment than normal in how he’s looked this year so far.
Anyways, where was I?
Ah yes, Bill Paxton natural disaster films. No wait, rein it in, bud. You got it. Baseball. There we are.
It hurt like you wouldn’t believe to see Yu Darvish in his six-million-dollar-man-throwing-arm get up on Home Opening Day. It pained me emotionally as much as it probably did him physically. It hurt to watch Derek Holland leave that game after the first and hurt see Ryan Rua and Shin-Soo Choo follow him to the locker room like lambs to the slaughter. I was on edge all of Friday trying to figure out where everyone had gone, what exactly was going on, and what it meant for the ballclub as a whole. To read and hear about Rua in a walking boot in the clubhouse hurt. To see Holland yelling into his glove in frustration hurt. To know Choo was moving slowly hurt.
A reminder that our bodies are brief, even though some are prone to do some pretty amazing things. Above all, losing a second home opener in as many years to a team long synonymous with last place and less than mediocrity hurt. Bad.
Since then, the boys from Arlington haven’t really hit a solid stride in either direction. It feels like the cycle of win, loss, win, loss may be a season long thing, even though I know it won’t. I was thankful that they found their bats on Sunday in Seattle, and was destroyed to see The Ranger formerly known as Nelly Cruz put it away for the cream, blue and gold. He’s just Nelson to me now, like a forgotten, bitter ex-lover.
It’s been a roller coaster for me. And while I’m not normally fond of heights, I could go for quite the climb right now.
One of my favorite dudes of all time wrote this: “I’d rather forget and not slow down, than gather regret for the things I can’t change now.” I mentioned dementia in the title not as a crass or heartless reference to memory loss. I have a close connection with the disease and others like it, and have seen first-hand how it can impact an entire family. I mentioned it for a few reasons;
1) For most of my life, my gramps was this phenomenally funny, but rather curt, short tempered man. He was diagnosed with memory loss a few years back, and I’ll never forget something he said to me one day after visiting him post-diagnosis. “I have no reason to be worried or upset about yesterday, ‘cause I can’t remember it. Every day is a fresh start, and the best day of my life. Why wouldn’t it be?” Amen.
2) Dementia literally has ‘memory loss’ in the definition, and although we as fans have seen enough to wish we could forget, I find it far more fulfilling to choose to put those things behind us and push forward. Forget and Not Slow Down.
I normally choose to be a proponent of hope when it comes to a lot of things. Baseball is at the top of that list. I could, absolutely, choose to sit and be angry about where we’re at, how the Rangers look and how bleak things seem right now, 15 games into a season. But I choose against that, and advise anyone reading this to do the same.
I encourage you to keep focused on the future, and not to be weighed down by what has transpired in the past month. We’ve got a lot of baseball left to play, and no reason to completely give up on this year. Derek Holland will be back. Martin Perez will be back. Ryan Rua will be back. We, as a fan base, have a lot to look forward to in May, June, and July. As Grandpappy Wayne would say:
“Every day is a fresh start, and the best day of my life.”
We really don’t have a reason to dwell on why yesterday was bad for the organization, and a cavalcade of reasons to push towards another night of fresh cut grass, freshly lined chalk, and the crack of fresh bats on brand new leather baseballs. I could listen to it all day.
We’ve got 147 reasons to keep our heads up. And every single one of them brings promise.
I’d rather forget and not slow down.