I could have easily written something on the greatness on the San Antonio Spurs and their 5th title, but I decided to write on something more impactful that revolved around life and someone who impacted millions of little leaguers across this nation.
Tony Gwynn wasn't just an amazing hitter who emulated a giant bear, but his personality, his words, and his humble lovable characteristics made it hard not to naturally fall in love with the person not just the player.
As a little leaguer, back in the days before YouTube, mobile devices, and mp3's, I remember watching Tony Gwynn instructional tapes on the basics of hitting. I remember then diving into who he was as a person and recognized how eerily he reminded me of my dad when he would talk to me about baseball. So straight forward, yet had this natural ability to light up a room with his laugh and demeanor in almost any situation. Basically, you couldn't dislike the guy because of how fun loving and humble he was.
This morning, I woke up reminiscing over a dream that I had been fired from work while speeding only 3 mph over the speed limit with kids in the van and cops calling for my head as they thought I was intoxicated. My supervisor comes out of nowhere and tells me my job is done and that they just can't have me working there anymore. I wake up, and as always when it comes to most of my dreams, I realize how good my life is (but it takes a while especially with how real he dreams can be). As I find myself catching up the realization of where life is again, I scroll through my phone and see he news. I instantaneously do what I normally do in dreams to make sure it's a dream, I try telling myself "is it real?" and in my dreams I generally have a realization knowing it's not real, and press on.
This time, I truly had something to mourn over as a childhood figure of class and direction left us all. Gwynn wasn't my favorite baseball player, nor did I look at him as an all time legend type figure. He was just a big teddy bear who could hit the shit out of a baseball, and taught the art of hitting to perfection.
R.I.P. Tony Gwynn, you will be heavily missed, and I thank you for helping me hit the ball the other way so well when I was young.