Humility, hope, and joy can be found in the strangest of places and when you least expect it.
I can attest to this phenomenon because it happened to me.
For the record, I am not, nor was I ever, a sports type person. I always enjoyed attending sporting events—especially baseball—because of the excitement and camaraderie and beer, but I knew next to nothing about the game itself or its players.
I prided myself on shunning such overtly masculine things—besides, I was (and still am) vegan and the ball and gloves they play with are made of leather, which is non-vegan (sports in general are non-vegan) and it’s jock type stuff and I was an “artiste” who took herself seriously, thank you very much.
I was blissfully ignorant to sports, but to my shock and awe that all changed in the blink of an eye on July 4, 2014.
A little backstory before I begin.
Six months earlier, at the end of 2013, I experienced what would become the worst time of my life. Within one week, I was hurtfully laid off from my job, brutally dumped by my long-term boyfriend, and I received an eviction notice on my beloved apartment.
I was beyond overwhelmed with the sh*t show I had created and I wanted to give up. I became depressed and suicidal. Those first few days consisted of me curled up in the fetal position on my bedroom floor wishing I could die, or obsessively googling “easiest and least messy ways to kill yourself” until dawn.
It was truly my darkest hour.
But, with the help of family and friends I managed not to end my life and began the long and tedious process of rebuilding my wreckage. Cut to six months later and I still felt like the saddest girl in the world, but desperately trying to “fake it ’til I make it,” so everyone thought I was okay.
Depression seemed to be my only constant within all the sudden loss and change, and it engulfed me like a wet blanket. It was going to take something really big, unbelievable, and life-altering to snap me out of my woe—which is why it’s so funny that what serenaded this depressed, vegan, feminist artist back into the land of the living wasn’t a trip to India or a three-month long spa getaway or even winning the lottery, but ’twas a single baseball game with a special player by the name of Mike Trout.
“Who the hell is Mike Trout and why should I care?” I’m sure some of you are asking yourselves, and I completely understand because I asked the same question back in 2014.
I was down in Orange County, California, visiting my sister who is an avid Los Angeles Angels baseball fan and she had tickets for that night’s game. It happened to be Fourth of July and I had no other plans so I thought, what the hell—-there are cute boys and big-ass cups of beer. I was in—but as usual my depression tagged along like a shadow.
My sister, her fiancé, our dad, and nephew piled into the car and headed for the Angels Stadium. We made it to our seats and I began to take in the energy around me. People were really happy to be there! It felt exciting, and I yearned to feel that again. I let myself get invested and interested in the events taking place around me.
I tried to impress my sister by noticing that, “Oh, I didn’t realize their jersey numbers went all the way up to 88!” To which she replied, “Um, that’s actually BB and it stands for Bat Boy.” I silently took a chug of my beer.
A few minutes later, a player was called up to the plate and my nephew whispered, awestruck, “Oooh, Trout’s up.”
“What?! Did you just say trout like the fish?”
“Yep,” my sister said, “center fielder, and he’s only like the best player in baseball.”
At that moment, I decided to take notice of the score. We were tied up in the ninth and the Angels already had two outs. Mike Trout stepped up to the plate, immediately got two strikes, and then he was on his last out and it wasn’t looking good—but at that very moment, I witnessed a miracle right before my virgin baseball eyes.
Mike Trout blasted the ball out of the ballpark leading to a walk-off home run win.
Being that it was also Fourth of July, fireworks began exploding above us as Katy Perry’s song “Firework” began playing in IMAX surround sound across the stadium. I was not a fan of Katy Perry or Mike Trout or baseball or even fireworks for that matter, but in that one moment, with all those strange ingredients mixed together—I managed to feel some thing I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Hope that things do get better, hope that even when the odds are stacked against us we are capable of the seemingly impossible, hope in miracles, and hope in ourselves. I also felt genuine joy, the kind that comes from outside of yourself but takes up the entire space of your heart. Joy in being human. Joy in being alive.
Trout’s walk-off blast on the Fourth of July took with it my heavy wet blanket of depression and dark thoughts. It wasn’t yoga or meditation or psychedelic drugs that rid me of my woe, but good old American baseball.
And more importantly, it was Mike Trout, who I’ve come to find out is not only an incredible baseball player who possesses all five tools of the trade, he’s also an extremely humble guy who loves his mom, is crazy for his niece and nephew, and is married to his high school sweetheart. His work ethic is unstoppable, and he shows me what it takes to be a true champion in your field. He’s a special guy who brought hope back into my dark and depressed life, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I still follow Trout and Angels baseball religiously. It’s become one of those really sweet surprises in life that sneaks up at the perfect time. I’m glad I allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone and just observe and be inspired—because you never know who you’re going to inspire or who might inspire you.
And, you just might cure the blues.