Ever feel like you need a do-over?
That’s how I feet about this past summer. For many reasons.
And that’s a bummer, because I really love summer. I always have.
Maybe it’s because I live here, in Southern California, which is quite possibly one of the most magical places on earth to experience summer. To me, the summer season means a break from the grind of the school year routine, glorious sunny weather, beach days, stunning sunsets and Angels baseball. It’s without a doubt my favorite time of the year.
But just as many fans felt like they were robbed of their season of Angels baseball, so did I feel about my personal summer.
This summer wasn’t so magical. It didn’t go as expected. Health issues and physical struggles were trying to rob me of the joy of my favorite season. And because I often use sports as my “escape from reality”, the Angels weren’t helping me out much either.
Last week, I sat in the upper deck of Angel Stadium for the final Halo home game of the 2013 season. I did the same thing a year ago, going by myself, putting away my phone for nine innings and just taking in the game. (If you’ve never done this before, I still highly recommend it.)
Since it was a day game on a Wednesday, and given the season the Angels have had, the crowd was sparse. But the weather was perfect. And playoffs or no playoffs, I was there for the Home Opener and I wanted to be there for the last game too.
I watched Jered Weaver take the mound, which made me happy. He was his solid, consistent self, pitching seven innings of one-run baseball. Erick Aybar had himself a game, going 3 for 4. De La Rosa and Frieri came in for the hold and the save and the Angels beat the Western Division Champion Oakland Athletics, 3-1.
And as I sat there, reflecting on an Angels season and a summer gone awry, I reminded myself that this is just a season. No matter how bad it seems, it won’t be like this forever. In Angels baseball and in life.
From the beginning of the season and the disappointing Home Opener, I’ve written about how instead of focusing on the team winning, I needed to have fun and enjoy the experience. Whether I was with my family or my girlfriends or the inspiring kids from the OC Miracle League, I learned time and again this summer that the experience is always bigger than the game itself.
Changes need to be made with the Halos, there is no doubt about that. Watching the talent of Jered Weaver, Mike Trout and others on a team that finishes 3rd in the West and below .500 makes me shake my head. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what those changes need to be, nor do I have any suggestions as to how to fix my favorite team.
But I will say as MLB’s regular season comes to a close and we turn the calendar to October, I know that next spring, I’ll be excited as ever for that first pitch.
Because with the turning of each new season, comes new hope.
I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change.
And life will find a way.*
*Lyrics from “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles