Summer of Love, part 1 - June 2018 Mesa, Arizona.
Before I write this memoir of the months of June, July, and August 2018, I want to advise that the narrative of this series will be spoken in too romantic of a tone. That is just the way my brain replays the memories. Even negative things turn into cinematic reels in my soul, replayed on some silver screen somewhere with a rose colored filter, over and over again. I like to think that this is a peaceful way to view the past, but other times it drives me insane. Admittedly, this time was perhaps the hardest of our lives, but this time was perhaps the greatest adventure I’ve ever taken.
From the moment I met my boyfriend, Ramsey, I knew his life was baseball. I could tell. It was at the very forefront of his being. It was what he talked about, thought about, and everything he had ever wanted and hoped for was out there on some diamond somewhere. What I didn’t know at that time however, was that our dreams would someday become so intertwined, that it would all become my life too. That it would consume my thoughts and engulf every fiber of my being from time to time. Two years ago on a warm August night I looked into the eyes of a baseball player and felt a connection on a soul level. On an everything level. To share a passion and a lifelong love of something with someone & to fall in love with everything else about them all at the same time is a feeling that I’ll never be able to truly explain. We talked about the days of playing little league and watching the Rod Sox in my living room on Beach Avenue. We talked about how Uncle Charlie played in the minor leagues and how the cute brown eyed man in front of me told me that was his goal. It happened seven months later. Sometimes I wonder how meant to be this all is. Sometimes I wonder if I was literally raised for this life. Am I romanticizing this? Yes. Was it hard? Yes. Is it still hard? Yes, again. Do still I love this life despite all of the challenges? Always.
The one thing I do know for sure, is that I had no idea just how many places baseball would take us and how much something so seemingly simple to anyone outside of this sport would challenge the very core of who we are so much in just one summer.
By the time I finished my Junior year of college and finished my solo road trip across the south west, it was June. Being re-united felt SO good- per usual. Ramsey was in extended spring training in Mesa, Arizona. For those of you who don’t know much about baseball, before the summer baseball season every team brings the players in their organization to their Spring Training complexes in either Florida or Arizona. The spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs is located in Mesa, Arizona. Extended Spring Training, is meant for players the Organization chooses to not send to a summer team assignment just yet. This ranges from all sorts of players - sometimes those who are recovering from an injury, young rookie ball level players, or guys who will be starting their season mid-June, in the minor league level “Short Season-A”. Ramsey fell into the last category, which was not the assignment we had been hoping for during spring training in the previous months. Despite the minor setback, Rams carried on, playing extended spring training games in the blistering Arizona heat.
From what I remember- it was just starting to get hot. And in Arizona, hot is HOT- well over 100 degrees everyday. Arizona was becoming unbearable to be outdoors during the day. I am such an outdoorsy person that I felt like I was going insane being inside all day. I’d try to sit out by the pool but even that was unbearable. I needed to get work done on my computer and every few minutes I’d get a notification that my device was unusable due to overheating.
We lived in a Marriott that the team posted Ramsey up in for a few weeks. His roommate was sent off to play somewhere for the summer, so he had the room to himself. They had a few days off at one point, in which we took the chance to drive up to the Grand Canyon together.
At this point, we were so excited. This little road trip made us so thrilled and think that we were so ready for the summer. We were so wrong. Sometimes I want to freeze this moment in time and just be there with him. To look at each other with hopeful eyes about the dreams we have in this sport. Before something we loved turned into some sort of twisted reality questioning our love and purpose in the game. Do we love it still? Yes. Will we keep pushing? Always.
Eventually we packed up our things and headed for the 15 hour drive to Eugene, Oregon. Where we thought we would be spending the rest if not most of the summer.