Ah, that was sweet. The Astros win after the agony of Monday night. Oswalt dominant.
All of this makes me think of my father: Paul Edward Alms. Fathers and sons have a strange type of bond. So much of a father/son relationship is mediated indirectly, mostly, (at least over here in ’Merica) through sports. Playing catch in the yard, watching baseball, going to games. A lot of fathers do not speak directly about how they feel. They are not good at articulating what “relationships” mean. Fathers just share something with their sons: a baseball, a love of a city and her teams, a loyalty.
The closest I ever felt to my dad was when we were watching some Houston team. My best memories are his taking me to see the Astros in San Francisco when I was 7 years old or bundling up in a snow suit to go see Earl Campbell play for the Oilers against the hated Cleveland Browns. We did not talk about ourselves or analyze what we felt; we watched the game and we rooted and we cheered and were disappointed and we did it together.
Alot of folks think being a sports fans is stupid (Granted, there are some dunderhead fans!). There is no exercise involved in watching a game on TV. Our societal fascination with sports makes us boorish and too competitive and it drains money away from education or the arts. But one thing my father taught me with sports and being a fan is loyalty.
My father was born and raised in Houston and was a diehard Houston fan. He moved away and spent the last 35 years of his life in places far from Houston. But that did not matter. Astros, Oilers, Rockets, Univ. of Houston, he was passionately followed all of them. They never won much and Dad cussed some, threw radios every now and again, and swore he would never root for the blankety blank Oilers again. But he was always back.
My dad had the same loyalty to his family, to his church body, to his country. He often did not like what was going on in his LCMS, or with his kids or in his country. He often threatened to leave the LCMS and give up on all politics. But the LCMS was his church, this was his country and his family, flawed as they were and are, belonged to him.
I do not understand my wife’s dealings with my daughters. They have a psychic, weird connection. They can communicate and explode and cry and laugh and I don’t even know whats going on. My connection with my dad was never direct like that. We always met in the midst of something else: a baseball and a mitt, the sports section of the paper, a beer, a team, a game. That's alright, that’s good. We shared a loyalty to one other and to a team, a city of teams.
I have not lived in Houston since I was 6 years old. But one gift my father gave me was learning how to be loyal.