Setting here in a dark room of a nursing home in southwest Arlington, my mind begins to wander. Wanderings about my grandmother(hereafter referred to as “Granny”), about life and when and if I’ll find another job that will pay all of my bills. I have a full plate right now, having lost my job earlier in the week and now having to keep my emotions in check. We are waiting on the Lord to come and take my 90 year old Granny, as the night forges on past 2 a.m. I’m saddened by the thought of how much she will be missed, and am reminded of all of her little quirks that made her so special. As my granddad lays in an empty bed on the other side of the room and tries to rest for a few minutes, I look around the rest of the room to see the hospice nurse(who seems to have a passion for talking while people try to rest), my sister asleep in a chair and my mother quietly setting at my Granny’s side, counting the number of breathes per minute. I’ve tried for most of the evening to find a distraction in the back of my mind to take me to a happier time and place. Finally, a peaceful thought came to me. My Granny will still live on through the other women in my family. My sleeping sister has her sense of humor, which is very quick witted and keeps everyone on their toes. My mother has her stubbornness and confidence that carries everyone through the tough times, whether we want to go or not.
The good one’s always leave a legacy. They always pass the torch. Those that are being groomed to take the fire and carry it might not even know it’s happening, but it is.
In that moment, I finally found my hiding place. Deep in the recesses of my mind I could slowly see coming into focus the white chalk lines on a baseball field. It’s Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It’s the place I call my home away from home and the one place I’ve always found peace in the hardest times of my life. I could visualize “the Captain” aka Michael Young walking off the field in street clothes with a bag over his shoulder. Ahhhh, the Captain. I was very sad about his departure and worried about who would carry on his legacy as a leader.
When the trade was finalized to send Young to Philadelphia for a bucket of balls and a bag of Wash’s favorite sunflower seeds, there were strong opinions of whether the Texas Rangers should or shouldn’t have traded the long time leader of the ballclub. Once that blew over a bit, the new hot question became whether or not the team could succeed on or off the field without his leadership between the lines and in the clubhouse. There was a lot of lip service from players about how much they learned from Michael and that all of the veterans would carry a piece of him with them. Still, the media clamored over which veteran would step up and be the leader. Would it be the young shortstop, the hard working third baseman or the close friend of our former captain that resides at 2nd base? I present to you option D: All of the above. Perhaps it wasn’t lip service after all. It’s now April 29th, and the Texas Rangers are in a familiar place in the standings atop the American League West. How could that possibly be with the superhero Josh Hamilton and captain Michael Young gone? The answer?
You can replace production. You CARRY ON leadership….at least that of the great leaders. The kind of leaders that leave a mark not only on the field, but off as well. So yes, it is all of these players mentioned and many more that carry on the leadership of our missing Captain. While Michael is being given the chance to start everyday and continue his pursuit to join the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, the team that had been known as his for the better part of a decade carries on. And that brings me a peace here in this dark quiet room this morning, because as weird as it might seem that I always tie everything back to baseball, I see the similarities when I look at my loved ones around me. As one fire goes out, the torch will carry on because of all of the wonderful impressions my precious Granny has left on all of us.