I had been looking for a proper introduction to this piece since I first wrote it back in August. Two weeks ago, I found it. In the midst of a losing effort by the Rockies against the Padres, Silverblood made a comment that stated, "Well, I do like tall guys." I wanted to make a joke then, but only the two of us would have gotten it. I'm about two inches shorter than Silverblood, so my joke was, "Oh, that explains a whole lot about last September and October." What follows sheds some light on the basis for that joke.
"You are the best thing / Ever happened to me" - Ray LaMontagne, "You Are The Best Thing"
Rocktober was, is, and always will be about much more than just the Rockies and their run at the end of September and through those heady days in October. At least for me, those days were coupled with something else. This story certainly would have taken place (with a different tenor) had Rocktober not occurred. But it did, and that is why I'm willing to share this story here.
So, to whom or what do the lyrics I open this piece with refer to? In some ways it does refer to Rocktober, but it also refers to someone whom we know from here. Most of you know her as Silverblood. I know her as Hilary. This is a story about the two of us. It's a story that began on my birthday in 2007 and ended on 19 May this year in a LaGuardia Airport corridor, with a moment that could have been straight out of the last 10 minutes of a movie (minus a song playing in the background). But most of that story falls outside the scope of this particular one. The days of September and October are what matter here.
I'm not going to claim this is a good story, and I won't claim that it's an important story for anyone here (other than its participants). But it is an honest, if somewhat understated, story. In the end, that's the only story I can tell.
Join me after the jump.
As with all of us here (minus her sister), we met Hilary first through Purple Row. She informed us that she was attending Sarah Lawrence in New York. So when the start of the 2007 baseball season came, I wanted to see if Hilary was attending any of the Rockies-Mets games at Shea at the end of April. As it turned out, we were both going to two of the three games. The only game we both would be at was the series finale. On 25 April 2007, we met for a few minutes after the game. Over the next few months we talked with each other quite a few times.
Then on the second-to-last day of August, I invited Hilary to the Mets game on my birthday, 14 September. A few days later Hilary arrived in New York for her sophomore year of college, and days later we went to the Mets game. It was the best birthday I've had. I don't normally do anything to celebrate my birthday. This one was different. Then as Hilary and I walked back to the 7 train (she Manhattan-bound, me Main Street-bound), I asked her something: "So, you want to do something in the city some time? Or maybe I could come up to Bronxville? You've made it sound like a great place to visit." Smooth, right? Anyway, Hilary told me it would be great if I came up to Bronxville one day.
A few days later the Rockies started that improbable run. We saw Todd Helton hit that walk-off homer to take the back end of the double header against the Dodgers. We saw the Rockies win and win and win. Two weeks after my birthday, on 28 September, I went up to Bronxville to see Hilary. We celebrated the Rockies. Later we had a conversation that was quite awkward for the both of us (and that's about as honest as I want to be on that). We'd figure things out. So we went to a little restaurant in Bronxville to have dinner. The Rockies lost to the D'Backs that day, but that was just a minor road bump on the way to the playoffs.
I finally knew someone with whom I could enjoy the Rockies. Hell, I finally found someone I could enjoy time with. Days later, Holliday touched the plate. The Rockies swept the Phillies. Two weeks after my last visit, I saw Hilary again. That was 12 October, the day the Rockies went 11 innings against the D'Backs in Game 2 of the NLCS. By that day, I realized I found something I had been lacking: a great friend, someone I could trust. And let's just say I'm not the most trusting individual. If you know who The O.C.'s Seth Cohen is, that should give you a pretty good idea of what I'm like. So Hilary and I arrived at a mutually satisfying conclusion to our little situation. But there was something I noticed that day, yet passed it off as something else.
The Rockies swept the D'Backs and waited for what turned out to be a Red Sox ALCS victory. Everything just seemed so surreal. Could the Rockies really lose the World Series with everything that had happened over the past month?
The answer was, as we all know, yes. Rocktober came to a crashing halt in the most inglorious way: a four-game sweep. No elusive championship for the Rockies. But halfway through the series I just didn't care anymore.
Those of you who were around the site during that time may remember that moments after the second game of the World Series ended, Hilary told us she was in a dark place at that time. I talked with her a few minutes after that and found out she was battling depression, home-sickness, and loneliness. What I thought was tiredness that day a couple of weeks earlier was something far worse. I was devastated.
"All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments of revelation. This had the feeling of both." - G'Kar, Babylon 5, "Z'ha'dhum," Final note of Season 3
That night was composed of both moments. What I realized that night set the stage for all that was to come (all of which are outside the scope of this story). Baseball didn't really matter over the next couple of weeks--certainly not over the next three days. I was in those game threads on Saturday and Sunday, but my thoughts were elsewhere.
The outcome of the World Series doesn't diminish in anyway what the Rockies did to get there. They're still one of the best baseball stories ever. And for me, those exhilarating days are inextricably linked with finding my best friend.
So, thank you to the Rockies. You provided memories that will last a lifetime.
And most importantly, thank you to Hilary--a most intelligent, caring, kind, and funny girl who is the prime example of pulchritude (watch, she'll accuse me of flattery (again), but she is far too modest). You are a far better friend than I deserve. I am a better person for having you as a friend, Hilary.
"It was the dawn of a new age for all of us. It was the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another. The next [few months] would see great changes, great joy, great sorrow. The new [friendship] would waver and crack. In the end, it would hold - because what is built endures. And what is loved endures. And our [friendship . . . our friendship endures]." - Adapted, Delenn, Babylon 5, "Rising Star," Final note of Season 4.
Anything is possible.