12/08/2009

Dream Chasers (Throw Strikes)

My husband played minor league baseball for six years. He never left for the ballpark without giving me a kiss, or without me saying, "Throw strikes."

He retired at the ripe old age of 23.

He made that choice because the minor league baseball lifestyle is hard. We married young (see picture), and because I wanted to be with him I tagged along. We moved 36 times in five years. We always had roommates. I mean, I lived with EIGHTEEN different guys during those five years. Not lived in SIN, just shared space. I intend to write my next book from the male perspective. Believe me when I say I know the male mind.

If you have a daughter? Keep her away from ballparks.

We were poor. When we lived in upstate New York I worked at New York and Co, Bath and Body Works and Limited Too. I would walk into the mall and stop by all three places to figure out where I was supposed to be.

One thing we weren't short on was entertainment. I could tell stories for days.

Some stories are funny, like the time the guys were on the road and one of our roommates called and asked me to remove his list of "special" phone numbers and any evidence of prophylactics from his bedside drawer because his girlfriend was surprising him with a visit.

Some stories are sad, like the guy who had a wife and two kids and was only a utility player. Everyone knew it but him. The day they sent him home I cried. I wonder where that family is all the time. I pray their lives turned out well.

Some stories are scary. I was once accosted by a woman while I was waiting outside the locker room after a game. She accused me of being a groupie and told me ... I can't really say what she told me. In response I flashed my wedding ring. Turns out SHE was the groupie. Also, she was drunk.

Some stories I can't repeat.

Did I mention? If you have a daughter, keep her away from ballparks.

But it was fun, too. We were young and it was just us and every day was an adventure. We were dream chasers. I threw every pitch with him (in my mind). I learned the difference between a curve ball and a change up - what they looked like coming out of a pitcher's hand. In the car we'd play National League vs. American League and I would guess which teams went in which league. I watched more Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight than any woman should ever have to endure. I knew ERA's and batting averages and trade deadlines and ...

I developed an opinion on the designated hitter.

Lots of things happened the fall he decided to retire. His contract with the Mets was up and his sports agent couldn't get the team to guarantee a Triple A contract for the next season (Triple A is the level just before the majors). We bought a house.

We lost a baby.

When you chase a dream that requires use of your body - any contact sport, dancing, ice skating, etc. - you have a limited time window. Over the years, DH had a ligament in his elbow replaced and an aneurysm in his shoulder. The elbow surgery cost him time. It wasn't career ending, but it was detrimental.

My husband made the heartbreaking choice to stop chasing his dream. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training earlier than everyone else, usually around Valentine's Day. He gets a look in his eye that time of year. I know what it means. I still don't know how to help him process it.

My dream requires the use of my brain. Stop laughing. When I told DH two and a half years ago that I was going to write a book, he thought I'd abandon it like I abandoned all the projects piled up in my craft closet.

He was wrong.

Now, writing is our dream. There's NO WAY I ever would have written one word if he hadn't been willing to cook, clean, hang with children, pay bills, wash clothes, help with homework, grocery shop and do all the things that make a household run. All of this on top of his day job, at which he excels (competitiveness never leaves a person if it's been ingrained, I've learned).

Today, I just wanted to let him know, publicly, that I am so grateful to be married to a man who understands what it's like to chase a dream.

Mac, I love you even more for chasing it with me.

Throw strikes.




59 comments:

  1. Ok that just made me tear up. SO beautiful. Thank you so much for posting!

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  2. From someone chasing her own dream, that was beautiful and promising. (Hugs)Indigo

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  3. Wow. No doubt about it. You're a writer. Write what you know. You have a gift. Go for it.

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  4. Love this post, Myra. Janet was smart to link it. ;-)

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  5. Thank you for your precious comments. So much of writing involves our personal stories - sometimes they're harder to tell than the fictional ones.

    You know. 'Cause you can boss those people.

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  6. Just came over from Janet Reid's blog. Such an amazing amount of wisdom and insight--and humor--here. Thanks.

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  7. I followed a link from Janet Reid here, and I'm so glad I did. That was a wonderful story, and I was honestly moved. And this is a guy saying that!

    The two of you are lucky. Good luck with your dream. It's there waiting on you.

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  8. Powerful testament, a definite must-read in the blog world today. Thank you for sharing this.

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  9. So beautiful and well-told. Thank you for sharing. It helps to have a partner in this journey and it sounds like you have a great one. That's what it is about - support and the give and take.

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  10. This is beautiful. As a writer, and the mom of a ball player, I'm still wiping the tears away.

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  11. Amazing post. My heart feels all light and airy:)

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  12. Beautifully written and a welcome reminder that we are not alone. Keep chasing your dream - I need to write an email...

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  13. What a perfect post. You forgot one point-- he's lucky to have you, too, b/c you're pretty special. :)

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  14. Okay, girl, my nose is stinging and that means tears are next. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. What an outstanding post. I'll think of this on those days I'm feeling like nobody actually "gets" what I'm doing. Thank you

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  16. Thanks for the tears at work when I am trying to hide that I'm surfing the 'net!

    What a wonderful story...now I have to call my husband.

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  17. Sharing a dream makes it so much better. You are very lucky.

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  18. You went and made me cry.

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

    (I would like to link this to my blog, as well. Hope you don't mind.)

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  19. This was a beautiful post, Myra. I was directed here via someone's link on Twitter and oh wow...just wow... Somehow, now I have to go to class, but I KNOW I'll be thinking of you and your husband and your family.

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  20. This was a great post, I feel the same way about my husband.

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  21. Good job, girl. I had no idea your hubby was a ball player. It sounds like he made the right decision for his family, and I know you guys are incredibly happy. Just so you know...we're all rooting for you.

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  22. Janet Reid sent me. Wow. Yours is a memoir I definitely want to read.

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  23. I don't even know how I ever come across Janet's blog, but via that woman I don't even know I found some amazing people I love to read. And yet again, she linked to a wonderful blog. I loved this posting, and I think that photo of you and DH is just stunning. you both look so lovely. :)

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  24. Another Janet-link visitor. That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing the depth of your relationship and journey together.

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  25. I too was chasing the retail shuffle, and have found my Self happily jobless, with a husband who thinks it odd to find me home, but is expecting me to create with pen then next best story.

    He is my laundress, my dishwasher and he delivers me groceries as well.

    Wild and glorious.

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  26. That made me cry, too. What a beautiful post. Thanks to Janet Reid for linking here.

    I love baseball and think about the families who sacrifice so their husbands and fathers can play.

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  27. Perfect post, Myra. Thank you for sahring this.

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  28. Beautiful high five to your husband (or do baseball players generally slap on the butts?)
    You two make a gorgeous couple inside and out and you made your own great team :)

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  29. Dern you, woman! My cheeks are wet and my throat hurts now. What a good post. I can't wait to see every pitch you throw in your own career. And you've motivated me to continue pressing on with my edits. Again.

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  30. My hubby-to-be isn't a ball player - he's a hockey play-by-play announcer. And I knew when we started getting serious that it would mean big sacrifices for him, and it would mean sacrifices for me. And while I'm glad I made the choice I did, it really touched me on how it IS a difficult lifestyle, especially when you need to always be ready to move with the job and career.

    Thank you for this post, it really had me thinking about my fiancé too.

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  31. Oh, Myra, that was a great post!! And what a great guy!

    I spent spent many summer afternoons watching the Firebirds play in Scottsdale (after singing the national anthem before the game :) I think Triple A games are so much fun to watch. Those guys play with heart. They're not getting the big bucks. They're playing because they love it.

    Have you considered a memoir? What an awesome insiders view you had as the wife of a player!

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  32. Loved the post. :) Love you more.

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  33. It is so incredible to hear of the sacrifices you made, and to see them returned with interest.

    Does Mac have a brother?

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  34. Okay, I'm one of many who teared up! I am a big baseball fan and I worked for the San Diego Padres AAA team in Portland (Beavers!) as a souvenir vendor for three years. Yes...Parents keep your daughters away from the ballpark!!! I was 35 and married, and the bullpen guys still whistled at me as I left the park each night (I wanted to yell, back, "If I'd been a promiscuous teen, I could be your mother!" but never had the nerve). Ahhh...baseball...gotta love it. Lovely piece. Good luck with your writing, you certainly drew me in.

    Joelle
    www.joelleanthony.com

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  35. Thank you for this beautiful, heartfelt post. Your blog is always uplifting and inspiring. Thank you!

    (my creative writing blog)

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  36. Wonderful post and so interesting. I'm all teary now. So great you two could support each that way. Good luck.

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  37. What a lovely piece. I chase and caught my dream to be a TV writer. Now I'm writing for myself and just seeing where it takes me. It's a different kind of dream, but still an adventure. I'm glad I stumbled across you. Good writing is hard to find among the sea of mediocrity that passes for it in the blogosphere.

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  38. This was really beautiful! Much less snarky than my own spousal commentary. I wish you the best!

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  39. Virginia may have said that a woman needs a room of her own to write, but I'd add to that a partner who is as committed to her writing as she is. Like you, I am so grateful to have a person like this in my life. At a time when things are most hectic with two kids under three, hubby has made it possible for me to write my first novel. Thanks to Janet Reid for the link to your blog.

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  40. Three comments: (1) you definitely have writing talent, (2) you definitely have a future as a writer, and (3) Mac didn't give up a dream. He married one.

    Let me know when your book is published.

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  41. There's no way I could ever comment on all your comments - but I tried in my next post. Thank you so much ...

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  42. There is nothing like a dream. Whether it is sports or writing or painting or building a business, dreaming about success keeps us going.

    I admire your husband's passion. Perhaps he can pass on that desire to younger generations.

    I also admire his unquestioning support of your dream. The wonderful thing about our dreams is the ability to share them with everyone around us.

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  43. Thanks for the tears, and sharing. I might have to marry a man. Take care, Simon.

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  44. 1. What a sweet story! I knew I liked y'all for a reason. This post made me like y'all more! :)

    b. I'm so happy that your dreams are coming true with your writing! I'm so glad you're putting all of your crazy thoughts down for us to read. :)

    d. Teresa said she saw Andrew and Kroger. I was extremely jealous.

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  45. Lovely post, and I'm sending the link to my husband because he's right up there with yours.

    It's a gift to be so lucky, isn't it?

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  46. That was a lovely read. My DH is supportive and it is a good feeling.

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  47. a beautiful post, Myra! it's funny how we talk about writing being such a solitary endeavor and yet when you read something like this you're reminded of those people in your life who make it all possible for you to get those stories on paper.

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  48. Aww. I loved this. Thanks so much for sharing that with the rest of us.

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  49. Oh my gosh. I am crying. I so feel your chase and am so glad to have found your blog when I can see over there that you made it!!!!!!!!!

    And I found you from Lawsy's Tweet :-)

    I can't wait to read your book and follow your blog.

    And congrats on such an amazing hubby.

    God Bless,

    Katie

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  50. This one had me tearing up. That's a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it!

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  51. wow.... you are a lucky woman. And he's a lucky man. i read stuff like this, and i wonder if i can write in spite of having a husband that won't support it.

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  52. I have known Myra's husband for over 2yrs in business and just had the joy of meeting her today when he brought her by the office. He speaks of her and the boys often and they are a family to be admired.

    Misty Snider

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  53. Janet Reid sent me. Wow. Yours is a memoir I definitely want to read.

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  54. This was a beautiful post, Myra. I was directed here via someone's link on Twitter and oh wow...just wow... Somehow, now I have to go to class, but I KNOW I'll be thinking of you and your husband and your family.

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  55. Sharing a dream makes it so much better. You are very lucky.

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  56. What a perfect post. You forgot one point-- he's lucky to have you, too, b/c you're pretty special. :)

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  57. Amazing post. My heart feels all light and airy:)

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  58. Just came over from Janet Reid's blog. Such an amazing amount of wisdom and insight--and humor--here. Thanks.

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