Being on the road full time for the past couple of months, I have gotten to experience a lot of different things. I figured I would run into people that weren’t quite like me; or, didn’t have the same attitudes towards things. I stay at the Motel 6 Hotels, my preferred hotel chain, for financial reasons. Motel 6 is by far the least expensive of all the chains. Also, I have gotten lucky that the one I’m at is going through a room remodeling that started a year ago. A lot of the rooms are very up-to-date and, in my opinion, look great! However, since it is the least expensive it attracts the budget conscious like myself and other “darker” personality types. Some of these are located in “sketchier” neighborhoods. I will admit that I do enjoy seeing some of the people that come to this chain. There are a lot of construction crews that stay weeks at a time and have their own barbecues for their own little parties after work daily. Even though, since they work early in the morning, they go to bed early, also. Then there seems to be the ones that are selling something out of the rooms. Be it drugs or other things, I get nervous when I see this when I go to the vending machine to get a water. Seeing someone standing in their doorway is odd. I have learned that if I give them a hard stare they normally look away.
It is not that I am afraid of the people, my worry level stems from how desperate they are. Last night, for example, I decided to walk from my hotel to the ballpark. About a mile away, I figured I would save the $7 – $10 for parking. Turns out parking was only $3 – but still saved some cash. As I walked to the stadium, I observed my surroundings, who I saw, etc. I realized it was probably a mistake the way I went. It wasn’t the neighborhood as much as it was all the homeless and meth heads that were around. The stadium was beautiful and it had a great view of the mountains! I am realizing that the homeless love warmth and great views, just like everyone else! Anyway, I made a mental note to walk back a different way, or grab a bus.
The game was exciting, for one, the home team got beat 11-4. But, there was a very scary moment in the bottom of the eighth. A Fresno outfielder hit his head on the wall while diving for a ball in foul territory. As they took care of the player, some of the stadium gates were opened for people to leave, but also some of the homeless and drug addicts came in. One lady asked me what happened, I told her. I realized that she was quite young but drugs had her. As she walked away, I wondered where she was going to sleep. I thought about Reno. There was a river next to their stadium and I noticed people sleeping near there. Just past the railroad tracks of this outfield was an area where the homeless were camping.
As I walked back to the hotel after the game, the homeless and meth heads were out and about. Some scouting out places to sleep, bushes next to buildings seemed like a popular choice. I was prepared to be confronted for money, be it a hand out or something they were trying to sell. I only got scared once when a drug dealer appeared out of no where and gave me a hard stare. I looked back at him and realized he was “not afflicted” (by drugs or mental issues). I nodded and kept on walking, looking back only after hearing nothing behind me. It was a long walk and my mind was racing more than normal, believe me. I have been in a lot worse neighborhoods, this one really wasn’t that bad. A friend, I was texting, called and we talked as I walked and that helped. Once I got back to the hotel, it was a flurry of activity! People walking and talking all over the place. I was worried about my car being broken into. I don’t keep anything valuable, but I certainly didn’t want to have to deal with a broken window, like this morning as someone else had to.
Before I eventually fell asleep, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to take this trip. Life could be so much worse. I have a lot of time to think as I ponder life while driving and watching the games. Some people would never be able put themselves in the situations I have put myself in, I understand that. However, when I have talked to some of the homeless and meth heads, most are actually very nice people. They might be working an angle to get something but if you straight up ask them how they got in the situation they are in, they are honest. Meth heads can pin point it to that first “hit” where they felt the euphoria and their regret ever since. Now, they say it is “chasing that feeling”, and most have become resigned to the fact that it will kill them. The homeless, seemingly for many, have some kind of mental problem. But there are those out there that lost a job coupled with a few bad breaks. I guess we are all could be a few mistakes, or bad breaks, away from some of this stuff. This trip has given me a new perspective, along with renewing some perspectives. Life is too short. If we don’t embrace it now – when will we.
I have a long way to go on this journey and in life. Baseball is showing me so much more than just a game. Being able to follow it all over the country continues to bring me a lot of happiness. I love showing up at a different ballpark every day, experiencing the local excitement, even the non-excitement. I love talking baseball with knowledgeable baseball people. Funny thing is a lot equate baseball to life. From the scouts I hear that it is what is “between the ears”. The big question they want to know is how are these kids going to react to adversity. If they can handle it and have the talent; they will go far, just like in life. So, when I find the time, I go back and read why I started this trip in the first place, “Baseball Buddha is my path to happiness, to enlightenment through Baseball and the love of Baseball”. I think I am learning more than I ever expected!
If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at http://www.baseballbuddha.com/sponsor.html. Please, also ,share this on your Facebook page and Twitter, I appreciate all the help I can get!