My parents tried valiantly but they finally gave up when I was twelve years old. They separated and were officially divorced a few months later.
My dad moved into an apartment and my mom, my brother and I stayed in our modest home out in the cotton fields. Somehow my mom made it work for a while, but the summer before my freshman year we had to move into a tiny trailer house. Then about six months later we moved again. And a few months later we moved again. And then again.
In each successive move, we found ourselves in a smaller space. By the time I graduated from high school we lived in about 600 square feet, had 3 chihuahuas, paper thin walls and an aluminum roof that whistled in the wind.
None of this phased me though because I had the Texas Rangers and my clock radio.
I can't remember what exactly lured me in. We went to a few games at the old Arlington Stadium when I was a kid and the manicured grass mesmerized me. The field was in such pristine condition and I was blown away by every facet of the landscape. Bull Durham was a big movie at the time and I totally bought into Annie's philosophy- "I believe in the church of baseball". To a poor kid from New Deal, Texas, Arlington Stadium was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. Who cares if it was the only major league park I'd ever been to. It was mecca. Arlington Stadium and the Rangers were my escape.
My clock radio could tune into KFYO from anywhere in Texas, which was important. All the home games started at 7:35 (except on Sunday) and I had my radio with me, no matter where we were. I listened to Mark Holtz night after night after night after night. Watching Martin with the boys? Yeah, I had my radio on. Playing wiffle ball with the boys? I'd plug the radio in outside. Driving my mom's Accord to try and buy some cigarettes with the boys? The Rangers were on. I loved the Rangers. (This may also explain why summer nights were always with the boys. Girls weren't very impressed by my clock radio or the Rangers).
Those formative years flew by. I graduated from high school, went to Tech, moved away, moved again, and then moved a few more times. With each move I got further away from those dusty cotton fields and that clock radio.
After a while I wasn't paying any attention to the Rangers. I was sad when Mark passed away and was amazed at the new Ballpark when it was built, but I was a passive fan at best.
And yes, I'm still passive. Besides the World Series, I haven't watched a game in years. I'm not jumping on any band wagon or making a claim to be their biggest fan. I probably can't name four guys on the roster. It's not like the glory days with Pete Incavilgia, Ruben Sierra and Steve Buechele. None of these guys could hold a candle to Charlie Hough. But yet, I found myself absolutely captivated last night. Memories flooded.
I texted some of my childhood buddies during the game.
Remember when you had that mullett and we called you "Petey?" Will you please grow the mullett back in honor of the Rangers?
Remember those times I would frog the shit outta your arm while we were playing RBI Baseball on Nintendo and listening to the Rangers game in my trailer?
Remember how I would kick your ass and make you fix me some cereal?
Remember that time we talked my mom into driving all of us to Arlington to watch the Rangers and A's? We drove a gold minivan and listened to Bell Biv DeVoe ALL WEEKEND! BEST TIME EVER!
It all came flooding back.
When I was 15 years old I had my walls plastered with Ranger's posters. Nolan Ryan was my hero. All my hats were blue and our summer vacations were weekends in Arlington, and I wouldn't change that for the world.
The Rangers were my escape as a young teenager. Most of us enjoy DTN for the same reason today. We're all livin' the dream.
I now have a life that I never imagined, and the Texas freakin' Rangers could win the World Series tonight. Tell that to the 15 year old with the clock radio and you would get frogged in the arm, really hard. Then he would make you go fix him some cereal and probably kick you out of his trailer.
It's hard to imagine sometimes, but anything is possible. This is about to happen.
Ok, that's enough dime store novel crap. Let's get back to the important things!
ES BEISBOL TONIGHT AND FOOTBAW SATURDY ON SATURDY!
Go Rangers! Go Tech!
Go fix me some cereal!