Hope: Something a little different today


When it really comes down to it, does it really matter whether the Astros win 80 games or 85 games in 2015? Are you really concerned whether Scott Feldman or Dallas Keuchel gets the ball on opening day?

Will Jeff Luhnow trade Chris Carter or will Jon Singleton begin the year at AAA Fresno? How many different players will play centerfield before the trade deadline? Will Pat Neshek, Luke Gregerson or Chad Qualls be the closer? How many relievers will stay healthy for the entire year?

Are those questions important?

Yesterday, we learned about the horrific death of a man at the hands of ISIS. This morning, we awoke to a plane tragedy in Asia and a train-SUV accident in New York. Our government is often at a stand still because politicians prefer personal attacks over substantive conversation. The dangers of ebola have been pushed from the headlines, but the fear remains.

Are the baseball and Astro questions critical? Yes, but all in perspective.

For most of us, America looks different than it did when we were kids. And, speaking of kids, studies show their values are so different from just a generation ago. Their challenges and their goals are different. Yet, their pain is similar as there is nothing new under the sun, or so I’ve read.

Sort of makes DeflateGate and the opening day lineup seem a bit trivial, no? But it shouldn’t, though there is a time, a place, a perspective and a priority. For it is hope that has always caused America to endure.

“Hope is the beginning of everything,” writes author Ray Johnston is his book The Hope Quotient.

Baseball shut it down for a couple of days after 9/11, but President Bush and other insisted that the season continue. I remember Craig Biggio and other players being very hesitant to resume play, some even implying it was disrespectful to families who lost loved ones.

But it was the hope that kept those families and America moving forward. The best definition I’ve seen of hope is based more in the Bible than on shallow human definitions is this: A strong and confident expectation.

Hope isn’t some wishy-washy term that we ascribe to our wishes or optimism. Hope isn’t based in uncertain optimism, but rather confident certainty.

All that to say this. The people who stop here daily, weekly or even less often are family. Though we may never meet face-to-face, many in this group have forged relationships that will last a lifetime. Mr. Johnston said one other thing in his book that rings true: “Things just go better when you don’t do life alone.”

As we head into the baseball season, I just wanted to put life in perspective. Doesn’t mean we can’t have discussions and even heated debates. Doesn’t mean we won’t count how many different lineups A.J. Hinch uses in the his first month on the job.

It simply means that we keep it all in perspective. Baseball is a game. Life is real. They say that you and I are the same today as we will be in five years from now, except for two things: The books we read and the people we meet.

This blog is an outlet. It is a place to vent, a place to get away. Indeed, it is a safe haven for hundreds every day.

Here’s hoping that 2015 is the best year of your life.

To be sure, keep the faith. But, never, ever lose hope as it is the beginning of everything.

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15 comments on “Hope: Something a little different today

  1. Chip very well spoken/written Thank you for your right on perspective. As I have gotten older, I do take more time to reflect on sports vs life. I do love sports, but in the end it’s just a game being played by people blessed to make a ton of money.

    When my wife and I sit in our hot tub every night, she often asks me whats up, why I don’t seem as passionate about my sports and Houston teams as I used to. Don’t get me wrong I still love my baseball and football, but I find myself so much more concerned about our kids and future grand kids, and our slow destruction of the planet and what’s left of this civilization.

    PS To everyone thanks for this blog ” my daily bread’ For a few minutes every day.

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  2. I am thankful for this blog also. I rarely post, but I read here everyday. I really appreciate the effort and information that comes from here. I have been keeping up with the Astros since the mid sixties and have never seen a source for keeping up with the team as informative as here. Best to you all and hopefully our team will keep improving.

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  3. Good points all Chip. So much going on in the world today. I used to think that our planet might become a better place to live as humanity became more humanitarian. Sadly, world wide discord grows today, further and further into unchartered territory.
    It does not look like we’ll be leaving a better world to our kids.

    This blog has always been a place to go and get away from the headlines. Unfortunately, I find myself pulling away here too, because more and more, the Astro organization is showing me that it is not the type of entity that I’d want to be associated with. As much as my passion for baseball remains, I just don’t like the way these guys do business. We deserve much better.

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  4. Often, Chip, Dan and I have little email exchanges. It’s all about breaking news or maybe who is writing the next post. Sometimes one of us doesn’t show up in these threads for an hour or three

    Why? Well, we work, we have families, we have other obligations and even (gasp!) interests.

    Me, I have two daughters who are active in church, dance, school, friends and 50 other things. Well, some days it seems like 50. My wife never lets a chance pass to create an impromptu party. Oh, and this spring I’m going to start writing my next* novel.

    How’s that for hope.

    I am glad for this blog and the people here. But I hope we all realize the greatest game on the planet is still just a game.

    * (The first one is on my hard drive. It’s awful, but I did learn lessons about how to write a novel.)

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  5. What’s going on in the world today is no different than what was going on in the world 100 years ago, 1000 years ago, 10,000 yrs ago. Ordinary people try to eke out a decent, healthy, peaceful way of life for themselves and their families and are drowned in the tide created by others who seek to get everything they want and are willing to conquer and kill others to get it.
    Before the communication age it was just a matter of not knowing who wanted to come and take everything we worked for. Now we know exactly who is doing it and why, but the individual family man is powerless to do anything about it.
    The Dark Ages wasn’t 800 or 900 years ago. It is still here and the light shines in small places that we build for ourselves and our families and we work every day to keep the light shining. When we teach our children how to keep the light shining with love, we come against the Dark Ages and fight to pass the light on through them and hope they do the same. With 7 billion people in the world it is much harder to see the light when surrounded by the dark. Goodness creates hope and hope encourages goodness.

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  6. Interesting Chip, as always. Is it not strange that Baseball is the National Pastime in both the US and Cuba. No matter what is going on between governments – we can play baseball and be in agreement. As to the aging and sports watching, when young I could not live without readings the entire sports section each day. My favorite was Sunday because they posted all the batting averages and pitchers ERAs. Then along came Duane Thomas and the 1972 Super Bowl. I was all wrapped up in sports and the game. But Thomas refused to speak to the media. When asked how he could be at the most important game in the world and act this way. His reply was “If it’s the ultimate game, how come they’re playing it again next year?”. That one quote put sports in perspective for me. I don’t know how the Astros will do this year. I hope improve. But in the end, 2014 is over. Let’s enjoy the excitement that 2015 brings. And I “hope” Springer is in CF.

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    • Astro – you made me remember when I played in Korea.

      Completely different culture. Couldn’t communicate at all with the teams we were playing. Yet, the game is still generally played the same way. Some subtle nuances, I remember the first time one got away from me and I plunked a hitter, the manager was angry with me not because I hit the hitter, but because on that side of the world when you hit a guy you are supposed to remove your cap until he reaches first base, and I didn’t know. He gave me an earful lol!

      At the end of the game, we all shook hands, we all played aggressively, but at the end, we respected the fact that we were playing something bigger than all of us. Great times. The sport really is worldwide and a great ambassador.

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  7. I have a close friend of our family who doesn’t watch the news or read about current events on the internet. He has 2 children and a wife and his life revolves around them. He is very content, happy and in love with his family. He isn’t bogged down by the tragedies and sad news relayed to us on a daily basis. I admire him and how happy he is. There are times I tell myself to just not turn on the news or logon to my computer, but alas, I can’t resist the temptation to see what is happening in the world. With that being said, sports, primarily baseball is my outlet and I am happy it exists in my life.

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  8. Nice thoughts Chip.

    Typically I just like to talk baseball. I think the “world falling apart” notion is just created by the 24 hours news networks to stoke ratings. There have always been wars, plane crashes, terrorism, now we just have it on 24 hours a day to see on the TV. I don’t even watch it, I live much like Tim’s friend, I don’t even have social media – no facebook, twitter, etc. Honestly this website and a few others – I do enjoy some parlay into the Professional “wrestling” world – great drama (the male soap opera, right?) – but thats all I do, besides play some World of Warcraft. I love sports and video games. Typical young guy.

    I guess being military helps me too – living in an environment where everyone makes the same amount of money, noone loses their jobs, and we enforce performance by holding each other to the standards – well I guess that shelters us from seeing the impacts of poor economic downturns, the fear created by terrorists, etc.

    Back to the Stros – I will be disappointed if Dallas is not the opening day starter. He earned it last year, no doubt.

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  9. I don’t watch the news anymore. I used, to but I felt stuffed full of someone else’s agenda. I check headlines once a day to find out if I still live in the USA. I live in the country, in the woods. It is an escape for the wife and me, and though we have the comfort of a home, we are continually aware of the fact that one day we may not. At first, our kids thought we were stupid, but now that they are grown and have families, they can’t wait to get here and escape from their cities. and they are now finding out about their simple things in life and we suddenly find ourselves not so stupid anymore.
    When I was in the busy world of business, it was harder to follow the Astros. I was exhausted all the time and if I had a chance to get away it was to fish or hunt or play golf. Fighting the crowds at the dome was not for me and I couldn’t afford it anyway. My sons loved baseball so I stayed in it that way. Since I made my living in the world of golf later in life, I thought golf would be my focus when I retired. A stroke(not the golf kind) changed all that and I got back into baseball. Besides my own family, I have come to realize that my Chipalatta family is a huge part of my life. A couple of months ago I realized that I was not being open minded when considering the thoughts and feelings of my Chip Family, and I have backed down and found that I was having a lot more fun getting along.
    Thank you to Steven and to all of you for sharing your thoughts here.

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  10. Funny – Chip wrote andemail about this post being a bit different earlier today to Brian T and me. I took a look and said I really liked it and would respond right after lunch…..but then life got in the way a bit.
    Ended up spending the afternoon trying to get a few people extended on the project when there are no other projects to go to for awhile. The energy business is going through a lull and I’m getting a flash back like it is the 80’s all over again in Houston…
    So yes, baseball is a game and life is life.
    My personality is a lot like my dad’s was – mild mannered normally but liable to yell at the TV when the Astros are not living up to expectations. Back in the fall of 2001, I can remember my dad lying in the living room he was sent home to die in – cancer radiating from his lungs and watching a bit of the Astros….and yelling disgustedly at the TV at another strikeout with the bases loaded.
    Baseball took his mind off things for a bit – off of mortality and the end. It is not life, but a respite from life for most of us.
    Yes, Keuchel and Feldman rank lower than ISIS in importance, but baseball has its place for me. It has taught me about how to win well, lose with grace, look at the long view, the cyclic nature of things and the importance of giving your heart, time and love to something that can’t love you, but can sure entertain you.
    It saddens me that baseball is not the “in” sport that football is – that it takes too long, moves too slow and is too cerebral for the newer generation.
    However, I am so thankful for this blog. It means everything to me to write for it, read it and banter back and forth with my invisible friends.
    Thank you Chipsters – you do make baseball important.

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  11. If the Astros go 0-162 next year it won’t impact my life. I won’t enjoy it, but the competition is more important to me than the end result.

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  12. Chip……As a mother of a military pilot, my heart was broken by the awful news yesterday, our son is a XO of a squadron in Norfolk so he won’t ever see combat again. With all the media outlets we have now, it’s hard not to see, or hear “news”. There have been many, many times I wished we could go back 15-20 yrs. ago when we were not subjected to the inhumanity of humans. I think most of you know where I stand in politics. Like it or not, we can’t turn our backs on what are the most barbaric people to ever breath air. I’m concerned that those of us over 50 are a dying breed……when it comes to basic knowledge of our government.
    I fear that my grandchildren will think nothing of it, when they hear or see about beheadings, and other atrocities of war…we can NOT let that happen. Baseball has been a BIG part of my life since the late 60’s when I first met the Astros on charter flights. This is my only outlet to be able to talk about, and gripe about these guys….it’s where you guys make me feel like I have a “voice”!! I thank you Chip, Dan, and Brian for holding
    court with us on a daily bases, and challenging us to defend players we think need improvement. Life is short and as long as I’m here on this earth I’m going to enjoy
    every single day. NOW………bring on baseball!!

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    • Becky, I salute your son’s service and sacrifice. As a fellow resident of SE Virginia, I know many fine young men and women in our Navy stationed here and am thankful for all they do. I feel our current educational system has failed to deliver a full understanding of historical events. Let me put it this way – when I pontificate on my ancestors and their journeys that led them to America, I come to the conclusion that the odds that I would ever have been born are inconceivably low…a miracle if you will. It pains me that in this age when we should be enlightened (right?) we still have barbaric, hateful groups out there. My greatest hope is that my children – the same generation as your grandchildren – may be able to spend their days debating baseball without the specter of violence hanging over them – whether in their own backyards or some far, flung corner of the Earth.

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