I did not grow up watching sports. My dad would take my brother and me to the occasional Lee football game at Stallworth Stadium when we were small, but that was the extent of our sports exposure.
I never dreamed I would be the devoted Astros fan I am today, but that’s how love works, isn’t it? You fall in love and the rest is history.
It all began a few years ago when I accompanied my husband to Minute Maid Park to watch the Astros play the Red Sox. I’ll never forget the sea of orange shirts, the passionate cries of the fans or the overwhelming sense of unity I felt.
It reminded me of our rodeo visits to the Astrodome when I was young. It felt like home.
I turned to my husband and told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted to come back, and we have ever since.
We were there before the 2017 ALCS games ever began, and we watched from home as our team clinched their first World Series trophy while Houston and the surrounding areas recovered from Harvey. That 2017 World Series win lifted all of our hearts at a time when we all desperately needed it.
These last few years have been a blur of opening days, ALCS wins, orange, passion and excitement. I never knew I could get so emotionally invested in a sports team, but I know no worthier team than our Astros. They’ve earned our love, and we freely give it.
Jose Altuve has always been my favorite, with George Springer coming in close at second. Yuli Gurriel has clinched third place in my heart, and I really like Michael Brantley as well.
Pitcher Gerrit Cole posted a love letter to the fans on social media Thursday and it brought tears to my eyes. I know he is likely to leave us but he was an Astro to the end and we will always love him for it.
These postseason games have been a roller coaster. We were at ALCS Game 1, where we suffered a disheartening loss to the Yankees. I did get to sit in Yordan Alvarez’s third-deck home run seat though, so that was a pleasant surprise. I had no less than twenty people ask if they could take a picture with my seat before the game, and I happily obliged because I understood their excitement.
However, ALCS Game 6 was a nail-biter. If you were there, you know exactly what I mean! We were within two outs of winning the final game against the Yankees when they hit a homerun. Unlike most games, no one dared move from their seats. I daresay anyone was even breathing at that point.
I’d seen enough games to know things could go either way at that point, so my hope was tempered with reality.
And then our dreams came true. Altuve hit a homerun, clinching the win and the ALCS pennant. I don’t recall a more emotional or incredible game. Words cannot describe what we all felt and experienced that night.
That game was what baseball is all about.
In true fashion, Altuve received his ALCS MVP award and gave God the glory first, thanked the fans and stated that all his teammates were the MVPs as well.
And that, my friends, is why people love Altuve so much. He is the epitome of humility and an inspiration on and off the field.
As for the World Series, we lost. But as I told my family, we’ll always have ALCS Game 6 – and I will always love my Astros.
Stacy Parent is a lifelong resident of Baytown.