Whether you're a loyal reader of this blog, a loyal viewer of News 10, or just pretty good at paying attention, you've likely noticed that baseball is my favorite sport (and it's really not even close). Being a fan of the game, I'm also a fan of numbers. You almost have to be. If you called me a stat rat, that wouldn't be too far from the truth.
Some baseball numbers have withstood the test of time and taken upon a life of their own; almost becoming a symbol of sorts. (I blogged about some "dubious digits" last year
, writing about the significance of uniform numbers.)
But in baseball, more so than any other sport, a number is a milestone. 300 wins. 500 home runs. The 40/40 club. And then, there are the numbers that will likely never be broken. 2,632
And today, I want to take this space to celebrate a different type of number. A number that unfortunately has become almost as difficult to achieve as a long-standing baseball record.
May 16th is my parents' wedding anniversary. 35 years ago today, Kathy and Dennis Winkler were married in New Orleans.
My Mom and Dad mean so much to me. They always have. I can count on one hand, the number of times that I didn't see them (or in my Mom's case, HEAR her) in the stands of my baseball games growing up. My Mother taught be how to pitch. True story! (Maybe that's why I played Division three baseball. As an outfielder.)
My Dad was in Jackson, Mississippi when we won the SCAC tournament title in 2002. He was also in Atlanta in 2004, when we lost in the championship. That turned out to be the last game of competitive baseball I ever played. We both know who gets the blame for that defeat: Chick-fil-A, of course. Long story. (Feel free to ask me about it sometime.)
Even today, several years since I left home, my Mother still sends me greeting cards with gift cards and coupons enclosed. Yes, I'm 27 years old and my Mom still sends me care packages. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence. Even better than the "gifts" inside, are the notes in the card; always sealed with XOXO Love, Mom.
Dad still makes time to come up to Waco to spend time with me and squeeze in a mid-week round of golf. (Ever since he discovered the Crazy Wings at George's, it seems like those trips have become a bit more frequent.)
No story I write or example I give on this blog can do justice to the job my Mom and Dad have done as parents. They are a wonderful example of love, partnership, and commitment. For 27 and 21 years respectively, my brother and I have been "shown the way" by two of the strongest, most thoughtful, dependable, and loving people on this planet. And just like those baseball records I mentioned earlier in this post, Mom and Dad have set the bar and given me and Ross something to aim for. Thanks for all you've done, and congratulations on 35 years. I love you.