Losing Your Sports Innocence

Earlier this week, Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle had a nice blog entry entitled “When Did You Lose Your Sports Innocence?”  which referenced an even better article which ran in the NY Times. I’ve been mulling over the whole idea of losing your innocence…in sports, in politics, with celebrities, with “heroes”, in religion…. too much to get my head around for just one blog entry, actually.

Last night, the Astros traded family favorite Hunter Pence to the Phillies. Nothing surprising about it, the talking heads had assured us it was bound to happen. Still, it was a jolt to see him pulled from the game in the fifth inning. He ran off the field, acknowledging the player who ran out to replace him, and emotionally said farewell with plenty of hugs to everyone in the dugout before he disappeared up the tunnel.

I texted the daughters who both replied,  (faster than they EVER have returned a text from me) “Noooooooooo!” Followed immediately by a phone call from Daughter#1 with an emotional plea for a new Astros shirt. She owns at least 10, but they ALL have a reference to Hunter Pence on them. Yes, my 20-something daughters, who came to baseball relatively late in their lives, have been dealt their first major blow. The player they most identify with their hometown team is no longer there, twitching in right field 10  yards in front of them.

As a family, this could  have ramifications rivaling a civil war. What is left to hold them to Houston? Have the seeds just been planted to grow a Cardinals fan and a Rangers fan?

Baseball goes on, life goes on. Sadly, cynicism goes on, but innocence goes away.

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