Other memories come to mind as I revel in the present adventures of the Astros. Having spent a good portion of my younger years at my grandparents' house, I gained a fairly healthy appreciation for sports directly from my grandfather (Clarence Otho White). If he was an athlete of any sort as a young man, I have no knowledge of this to share for now. Still, he did manage to introduce to me his love for the Rockets and the Astros.
In my grandparents' home, there was a larger television in the den and a 20" TV in the guest bedroom. After dinner, Grandmother and my mom would watch something in the den, and Granddad, Dad and I would often retreat to the guest room to watch a game. There were twin beds sitting side by side. The three of us sat there with outstretched legs and backs propped up by those large triangular pillows one uses for reading in bed.
The earliest recollections I have were the days when Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson had their respective starts with the Rockets. And these were also the days when the Astros' roster consisted of famed pitcher Nolan Ryan as well as players like Jose Cruz, Billy Hatcher and Kevin Bass.
There we were, three generations of the White family line, together watching these two teams in action, bonding over bowls of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, perhaps, and a simple conversation that would be meaningful enough without taking our attention away from the game. Through this, I would learn to absorb the basics of both sports, not to mention a sort of banter that most men manage to develop as a means of communication with a machine that has no way of reciprocating those words.
Dad enjoyed the games well enough, although he often thought that he would jinx a team if he watched the game all the way through to the end. I never bought that, though. But Granddad was a real fan as far as I could remember, keeping track of scores in the sports section for the games he missed. It was one of the subjects he liked talking about. He never let out a swear word when things didn't go well with his favorite teams. Rather he was a calm man with a gentle fervor for the sport itself. And I can honestly say that some of that attitude has had a positive influence on me to this day.
Thank you Granddad (and Dad, too) for spending those afternoons or evenings with me, making me feel like one of the guys. I cannot count how many opportunities we had to enjoy those games together, but I know one thing for sure - they counted for a lot!