Baseball, more than any sport, tells its story through statistics. Baseball stories tend to start with words like “most,” “first,” and “longest” to give the reader context for records. And baseball records are always being set or broken! The new Major League Baseball season may have just started, but it’s already set a record: all 30 teams played on March 28, 2019, the earliest opening day in MLB history.
Here’s another record: the third longest World Series game in terms of total time played was game 5 of the 2017 World Series when the Houston Astros hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was there for all 5 hours and 17 minutes of play, which included a brief interruption when prankster VitalyD streaked across Houston’s Minute Maid Park in American flag boxer shorts.
Shortly into the game, the Dodgers were on top of the Astros 4-0. The crowd at Minute Maid Park was quiet, with the exception of the smattering of Dodgers fans sitting in our section. There was zero energy for the hometown team, and I recall thinking “The Astros are going to lose. I’m going to watch 40,000 fans leaving the stadium with their heads bowed. And the one Dodger fan who was on my flight to Houston—giddily watching the Dodgers win game 4 during the flight—will be my seatmate back to California.”
Then I remembered something I had recently read during my morning practice:
“There is a time for everything. We should learn to wait patiently until the right time comes.”
Turns out, there was a right time for the Astros. And then the Dodgers. And then the Astros again. And then the Dodgers again. But finally, for the Astros.
As we were leaving the ballpark early the next morning, my phone started blowing up. The one message I remember was from a friend who reminded me, “Experiences over things.” He knew I had flown to Houston to surprise my Astros-loving sister, niece and nephew with tickets to the game. He also knew the trip was last minute, and it involved quite a bit of work to pull off. Although I don’t recall many of the things I purchased in 2017, I’ll always recall sharing the experience of a World Series game many reporters labeled, “A game for the ages.”
I’ve shared before that my true north is meaningful relationships, meaningful experiences, and meaningful work—in that order, always. I’m incredibly grateful to the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers for delivering a meaningful experience to three people with whom I have meaningful relationships. I’m also grateful that I now get to share this story with each of you.
I hope you’ve already had a meaningful experience (or two) in 2019. If you haven’t, there are still over 2,000 baseball games remaining this season. And if baseball isn’t your thing, the 100th season of the National Football League begins on September 5, 2019 when the Chicago Bears host my beloved Green Bay Packers! Go Pack Go!