Something special is going on at 501 Crawford Street. For those of you that may not be familiar with this address, it is the location for Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros who are tied for the best record in MLB at 14-6. Over the last 10 games, they are 8-2 and look like prime contenders to represent the American League in the 2017 Fall Classic (World Series). For the Astros, this is by far their best start since the 06’ season.
There are certain things in Houston, Texas that will forever be associated with the city. Things that by the mere mention of the name is automatically considered “H-Town certified.” Places like Pappadeaux’s Seafood Restaurant, The Astrodome, and Gallery Furniture; people like Hakeem Olajuwon, JJ Watt, and Jeff Bagwell are just a few of those places and names.
On last Friday I sat in front of my TV just like millions of others in America to watch the 2017 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 round. As a sports fan, I was only interested in one game and that was UCLA vs Kentucky. Some watched this game for reasons outside of basketball (LaVar Ball).
As a child, I worked very hard doing numerous odd jobs to make money. I mowed lawns, sold newspapers, went door-to-door selling candy, etc. If there was a job out there that was paying, I did it.
“It was very hard coming into a game knowing that nothing was really on the line but your pride, yet our guys still rose to the challenge,” said Head Coach of Texas Southern University Mike Davis.
As I sit in the Health and Physical Education Arena (home of the Southwestern Athletic Conference leader Texan Southern University basketball team), I am saddened by two things: One the crowd size and two, the lack of media coverage here.
I walked into the NRG practice facility for the NFL franchise Houston Texans and saw all the young men stretching and getting themselves prepared for their early morning job interviews. My mind wandered back to a poem I learned in my college days that had the sentence that summed up my first impression, “It isn’t the victory after all, but the fight that a brother makes.” And by the looks of the Houston NFL Regional Combine participants, these gifted young men were ready to showcase their talent to league scouts that were in attendance.
“You sacrificed for us. You the real MVP,” said current Golden State Warrior small forward Kevin Durant who received the Most Valuable Player in the 2013-14 season of the NBA as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Who knew that those words would be the most profound ones of that entire speech? Well, that and the fact he said thank you to Russell Westbrook for always being there for him and he loves playing with him. Two years later. He was gone.
On May 27, 2009, I raised my right hand and repeated, “I Brian Barefield, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That was by far one of the best days of my life. Well, that was until I stepped into Delmar Stadium in Houston, Texas on February 1, 2017, to witnessed all of our brave men and women who were injured serving and defending this country go up against NFL alumni pros all in the name of charity.
As football fans gathered at Super Bowl parties all across America, they had no clue that they were about to witness a miracle and history all at the same time. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons met at NRG stadium in Houston, Texas for the last game of the 2016 season. Super Bowl LI, this matchup featured the newly crowned NFL MVP (Matt Ryan) vs. the ageless wonder (Tom Brady). Yet it would only be one who would walk away with the Lombardi trophy and legendary status.