Astros News

Houston, Harvey and the Astros: Six Months Later

jschornick
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Many Astros fans enjoyed the 2017 World Series run because it distracted them from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Last week, the Houston Astros began the quest to defend their historic World Series title from 2017. This week, my family is finally able to move back into our full house. Almost exactly six months after Hurricane Harvey pummeled our city and flooded so many homes.

By now, the story of Hurricane Harvey and the destruction it rained on Houston is well documented. The images of the flooding and the rescue efforts will forever be a part of Houston history. For many of us, that history includes not only the loss of house and home over that week, but months and months of demolition, drying, dirt and dust. And tears. Many tears.

The swell of love and support from within the city itself and from all over America was truly breathtaking in those few days and weeks.  Many of us did not know where to turn, what to say or even what to think. Yet there always seemed to be someone, somewhere, willing to lend a helping hand.  To help us live and breathe one more day.

Those days have stretched into weeks. And now months. It is astounding how many times people have looked in disbelief as we remind them that so many Houstonians have fought through the devastation for six months now.

But for one of those months, baseball meant more to the city of Houston – and to me – than it ever had before.

What The Astros Meant To Us

Like many of us, the Astros faltered a bit in the days after Harvey. The stress of what was happening at home combined with some less than ideal playing situations made for a rough stretch of games. But just like the city they represent, the Houston Astros kept going through the final weeks of the regular season. And then came the playoffs.

The Houston Astros’ run through the playoffs was a thing that united many of us through gutting houses and a daily sense of loss. There were times I would stand for hours with my neighbors outside; after the usual updates on the progress of our homes, the talk would turn to the Astros.

First, it was Verlander and Bregman beating down Boston.

Then it was the anxiety of the Yankees and the ALCS. The walk-off double by Correa to win Game 2. Losing 3 in a row. An epic Game 7 ending with the ball falling into Springer’s glove.

And the World Series. How heartbreaking Chris Taylor’s home run was to open the series. Springer’s Game 2 winning home run. Coming back after giving Kershaw four runs to work with.  Bregman’s Game 5 walk off. Getting two runs in the first off of Darvish in Game 7. Altuve to Gurriel to clinch the title.

The joy on the faces of the players mirrored the hearts and souls of so many Houstonians.

How We Experienced That Month

We watched from spare bedrooms turned into “living rooms.” We sat on make-shift couches or benches made from whatever we found in the house that was dry. We talked anything and everything Astros every chance we could. Broken homes became centers of intense baseball love.

My son is almost four and an absolute Astros fanatic. During the playoffs, he got to stay up late and pretend to be Jose Altuve or George Springer for a few extra hours. His joy and excitement only fueled the feelings of joy as we watch the team persevere. Even though he fell asleep before the final out, I got to whisper in his hear that his Astros had won as I laid him in bed that night.

For one month, the Astros held the hopes and dreams of weary and all-but beaten people in their hands. For one month, we had something to look forward to almost every night after long, hard days. During that one month, we could go to bed knowing there would be more baseball for Houston.

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Often in the days following, we would hear people say, “this city needed this!” In those moments, I could look at my wife or my neighbors and together we could say, “we needed this.”

What Comes Next

Four months later, the days are not quite as hard. Houses are being rebuilt, neighborhoods restored and many communities are finally finding a sense of normal. As we head to the finish line of our own journey through post-Harvey Houston, Spring Training has arrived!

Spring Training.  New season, new life.  The sun is shining, and the grass is green.  Kids were lining up along chain-linked fences, watching their heroes and hoping for an autograph. Baseball is a beautiful thing.

Next: Astros George Springer has sights on winning regular season MVP

Thank you, Houston Astros, for how you helped us through those dark days only a few months ago. We are ready for whatever this season throws our way!

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