Nine baseball regular seasons have passed since the last time the Cleveland Indians were in the American League Divisional Series (ALDS). I was 17 at the time, selling TVs at Best Buy and going to my high school's football games as a fan in the stands.
Six regular seasons before that, 2001, I was 11 years old. I had no job, and I would ride my bike home from football practice.
And this year, for the ALDS, I'm walking through the state of Washington's wilderness.
Reflecting on irregular occurences like sporting successes can be a fun way to plot a life. These last three data points, the last three Cleveland ALDS appearances, kinda make my head spin for a moment.
I feel so young, so ridiculously young right now. I have no responsibilities of much substance. I have no dependents. My entire existence is layed out before me on this squiggly little red line that I track on my cell phone. The real life trail I follow has been cleared and prepared by other people all together. And top it all off, complete strangers cart me to the trail and back on whim as requested. This is about as purely selfish and purely satisyfing of an experience I can imagine. I know this is a temporary state of being, but it's hard for me to really imagine a time when I was younger than this moment.
Sure enough, I was 17 for a brief moment in time. I was 11 for a spell. But I can honestly say those years of adolescence might have been more restricting, more demanding, than these past six months (which is to make light of my current restrictions and emphasize my present freedom).
Yes I walk. Big deal. I walk. But the life in my steps seem to alter the fabric of space and time itself to bring me to another plane of existence where youth is no longer tethered to a biological clock.
Romantically I could idealize this emphemerality, but I won't. Debts are owed, tough choices about the future loom large. Inevitably this too shall pass.
But I am grateful. So freaking grateful for the right now.
I drink to the moment. I drink to the Tribe, the team that somehow amplified this moment.
And I'll drink to the guy that bought me these drinks (and the ensuing headache), Keith Troyer.
Sophomore through senior year at Ohio University we lived together, first in James Hall with our beloved Chinese roommate Kong, and later on 13 Kurtz Street.
Speaking of the ALDS, the last time the Tribe was there he was the quarterback of our high school football team and I'm pretty sure he had to miss at least one of the series' games.
This time around he's at the game, 2,400 miles east of me on I-90...
During that dorm year I remember Keith busting out the VHS of the Cleveland Indians' 1995 campaign, "Wahoo What a Finish", several times. We'd both reflect on the greatness of those mid to late '90s Indians teams, greatness we were just barely old enough to grasp, and may never in our lifetime see repeated.
Thanks for the beer Keith. Roll Tribe!