Life Imitates Sport in Houston

“You Gotta Have Heart!”

There were two big collapses in the same block of Crawford north on Texas Avenue in Houston this week. The first fall happened to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in the top of the 8th inning of NLDS Game 4 on Monday, October 12, 2015. The Astros were on their way to a 6-2 game and series finishing win over the KC Royals when the bullpen collapsed, allowing the visitors to score 5 times for a 7-6 win that swelled to a 9-6 final score win for KC in the 9th, forcing Houston back to Missouri for their formal 7-2 execution in Game 5 two days later.

The second fall happened this morning, Friday, October 16, 2015, when the construction scaffolding on the mid-rise apartment building that is going up across the street on Crawford from MMP collapsed violently, injuring a handful of 4 to 6 workers, but miraculously, not seriously, as it scattered twisted limbs of bonded together steel all over the portion of Crawford that separates the ballpark from the new residential project.

Fortunately, no one died in either fall, although both were setbacks to aspirational and commercial hopes. We also need to be grateful that today’s building construction site disaster did not happen on the same morning of the Astros’ Monday afternoon baseball dreams crash.

Had the construction crash preceded the Astros crash, MLB might have been forced to push Game 4 back from noon to Monday evening, and the game would have unfolded differently. No way that the top of the 8th could have played out exactly as it did, but that doesn’t mean the Astros would have been spared anything but the horrible memory that all of us who saw it in person or on TV have now been forced to file away. That’s not how life works. The Royals might have put a 10-run 1st inning on us, had the game been forced to reschedule.

This just wasn’t a great week for either the short term hopes of the Houston Astros or the construction company working across the street.

Stuff happens, right?

In this instance, life followed sport, even though we Astro fans could argue that we all carried our own life train wreck experiences into the top of the 8th last Monday in the hope of some joy and some vicarious achievement that might lessen the pain of unhealing regrets. It just wasn’t meant to be. And maybe it never will be, but that’s life. We either make our peace with past regrets or live with the ghost of painful disappointment. Baseball just happens to be a sport in which joy or agony is often tensely little more than a single final strike or single lonely run away.

Once in while, we baseball fans get to soar with the champagne taste of joy, but when we do, we have to endure the bitter wine of hanging in there through the bad times with our club to make the eventual victory of our team – a win that belongs to the whole club family – including us dyed-in-the-wool fans. Bandwagon fans do not get to drink at this banquet.

On the 6:00 PM news tonight, we learned that OSHA is flying a team into Houston to study the construction collapse to learn what they can about its actual cause and more about what can be done to keep it from happening again. That sounded like another connection point with the Astros and their baseball collapse last Monday. If bullpens are the scaffolding the game uses to build a house of champions, maybe the Astros will begin their own OSHA review of our time and space similar collapses this week as one of the steps the team takes to finish building the house of champions that now appears as close to our reach as those apartments going up across the street on Crawford.

The tandem collapse on Crawford Street this wek is an ironic summary of life imitating sport:

In baseball, if your supportive essential relief pitching staff collapses on your way to building a house of champions, you will need to study and conclude what really went wrong and then rebuild the staff that has a much better chance of not collapsing again.

In construction, if your supportive scaffolding collapses on your way to completing a new championship quality project, you need to study and conclude what really went wrong and then rebuild the staff that has a much better chance of not collapsing again.

In baseball. In life. Collapse is part of the ride to resurrection and redemption. One uniting point rules. We gotta have heart to make the whole ride – and we absolutely must have the intelligence to learn from the factors that caused an earlier collapse.

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One Response to “Life Imitates Sport in Houston”

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