Every once in a while, something happens that you weren’t necessarily expecting but perhaps should have been expecting all along.
Like getting gum from a pro baseball player.
Two of my friends and I have 10-pack Rangers season tickets, and our seats are right by the opposing team’s bullpen. So, early on in the season, I set a goal: get gum from a baseball player. They’re always chewing gum and eating sunflower seeds, and a handful of sunflower seeds would be too difficult to toss up to me. Plus, they’re so much work to get out of the shells. Gum is clearly the more logical option.
I have no real explanation as to why this became my goal other than it simply seemed to make sense. There was a slight problem with my plan, though: Most of the players don’t even look up when they hear people from the stands shouting down to them. I’m sure they get a lot of it at all of the ballparks they play at for away games, and they are really good at ignoring people. Like, really good. (I’m looking at you, Storen.) When we played the Blue Jays, though (no, sadly not the game with the Odor punch), I finally got the attention of one of them. But when I asked him if he had any gum, he shook his head, and that was the end of that.
But homeboy had given me a spark of hope—and sometimes that’s all you need.
The next game we had tickets for was a Monday night game against the Angels. Many people aren’t huge fans of Mondays, but it turns out they really aren’t that bad. I’ll admit that we were slightly disappointed when we found out C.J. Wilson wasn’t there that night, because we really wanted to see him—for nostalgic reasons, obviously. However, his absence didn’t stop the fact that we needed gum. I got the attention of one of the pitchers, and he told me he didn’t have any. He also didn’t seem concerned with my disappointment in the situation. That’s OK—rejection happens.
Later in the game, I looked down and saw a guy who looked like he might be able to hook a sista up. When he looked up, I checked on the gum status with him, and he said he didn’t have any. But then he hustled off somewhere. Less than seven or eight seconds later, he was back and threw three pieces of Double Bubble up to me. Cam Bedrosian, you’re alright, sir.
The Rangers are all about the “Never ever quit” motto, and I think it’s a good one to live by both inside and outside of the ballpark. It makes me think of my mom, who went back to school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees after she had already raised three kids. It makes me think of my sister, who is one of the greatest teachers around and never gives up on any student who walks into her classroom. It makes me think of my dad, who never lets me give up and even once yelled at me to do the backstroke for the entire swim of a triathlon because I suck at swimming, and he didn’t want me to regret dropping out of the race. It makes me think of Joe Pesci’s My Cousin Vinny character, who took multiple attempts to pass the bar and had never won a case but managed to win a major murder trial. It makes me think of Elle Woods, for reasons I have previously mentioned. It makes me think of every sports comeback story ever. It makes me think of a lot of different examples I’ve seen of determination and persistence—things that are sometimes difficult to muster up.
I realize getting gum from a baseball player is not that big of a deal compared to a countless amount of other things in life. It’s gum. From a human. And the flavor lasts maybe anywhere from four to nine minutes. But I think it was a good reminder that even in times you feel the most defeated, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back up. Getting knocked down is simply an opportunity to find the strength you may have never known you have. It can be easy to lose hope in so many situations we face in life, but sometimes that hope is what we truly need in more ways than one. Because without hope, you could find yourself missing out on some of the greatest things you could ever experience.
Like chewing Double Bubble as you watch your favorite team with people who support your antics.