Y’all! It’s time for fall ball – World Series season to be more precise. For baseball fans – presumably that’s all Americans (me, now?) since baseball is “America’s pastime” as my darling husband likes to say repeatedly during the final games – there is no better time of the year.
For an Astros fan, like my darling husband, life can’t get any better – especially when they are winning. And they are. Right now. Literally, we’re watching them smoke the Washington Nationals as I write.
All of this to say – baseball isn’t my thing. I would rather watch competitive crochet, if you catch my drift. But, I suffer through watching all of the (what seems like) one bazilion games that begin in September and never seem to end because I love him, and because that way I know what he’s talking about when the topic comes up, and it comes up a lot.
Watching the sport, I can’t help but think of how baseball is similar to caregiving. Yes, you read that correctly. It sounds crazy, but hear me out.
- Teamwork is essential to success. The best teams meld together and look like family on the field. This is no different than life as a caregiver. When you have others committed to loving you – and your darling – through a chronic condition, whether they are family or not, you become an efficient and successful team, and you gel.
- Nothing beats a home run. Except for a grand slam. A homer is rare, and a grand slam even rarer, but when they happen for us caregivers, nothing – and I mean nothing – can bring you down. I remember seeing my husband walk for the first time at the rehab center after his major relapse last year. That was a home run. A few months later, when he walked down the entire hallway of our house with the assistance of his walker and (and physical therapist) we literally hit a freaking grand slam. I still have that recording, and I still watch it from time to time when I’m feeling low.
- Food, drinks, and laughs make difficult moments, bearable. Nearly everyone in the Washington National’s stadium tonight watched their team lose (and I’m pretty sure most of them could see the loss coming a mile away) and I’m going to bet that most of them are leaving with their bellies full of ballpark hot dogs, peanuts, and beer. Sometimes a warm bowl of something delicious saves the day – or in my case, a warm slice of bread with butter and flaked salt. Obviously, balance is necessary to stay healthy, but there are very few difficult or terrible situations that food can’t cure even a little bit.
- Life is easier when you have the right gear and training. Every one of those baseball players is wearing the highest quality gear on the face of this earth and has had specialists working with them on their particular skills for years – maybe even decades. The cleats, the pads, the gloves, the bats, the helmets, the training camps, the private lessons, the specialized coaches – the list goes on. Caregivers also need the right gear and training to make life easier – this can range from mobility aids and hospital beds, to support groups and helpful medical personnel and social workers to help steer us in the right directions when we are lost.
So, while I’ll never get back the hours I’ve spent watching every World Series match for the last 12 years, I can say that watching the Houston Astros transform over the last three years has been inspirational to me as a person, and as a member of my darling’s caregiver team.
Keep it up, boys. Because seriously – if you lose this year, I may never hear the end of it. And I’m really ready to start thinking about the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
And P.S. – my husband is your greatest and biggest fan, in the world. Ask anyone. It’s obnoxious, but sort of adorable how much he likes you guys.