Fans crowd for a view of the Astros championship parade.

Fans crowd for a view of the Astros championship parade.

The Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series a week ago and everyone is still excited about it.

As a person who didn’t grow up loving the Astros, who didn’t know the 2005 team that was the first to make it to the spotlight, I sure have collected a ton of Astros gear in the past few months. Some say that these all-of-a-sudden fans are just getting on the bandwagon because the team is winning, and maybe they are right.

I wasn’t a part of their 111-game losing drought. I didn’t stand by and cheer on Biggio and Bagwell. But I have learned to love this team all the same.

I went to my very first Major League Baseball game this summer and fell in love. The stadium wasn’t packed. Tickets were only $40 a seat. No one knew at that time that the Astros were going to not only make it to the World Series, but would win it all.

They lost that game, but I knew from then on I would be a lifelong fan. I fell in love with watching this team. The way they played. The way they treated each other. The way you could tell how much they truly loved the game, win or lose. They supported one another, cheered each victory and consoled each loss. While the crowd trickled out of the stadium, disappointed, I stood in line to buy my first hat, eager to be a part of something great.

That was only months before all the mayhem started. Hurricane Harvey hit and an unprecedented amount of rain fell on the city and surrounding areas. Many cities in Southeast Texas were devastated. Houses flooded, highways broke apart and streets were strewn with people’s belongings — some lost everything

Cassandra Jenkins UP sports editor

Cassandra Jenkins
UP sports editor

Hope was nearly gone. But no one was willing to give up. Although it may seem silly, what the Astros did was more than just win a baseball game, they gave a devastated region something to be proud of, something to take their minds of their losses, and brought people together.

I threw all my money away to attend games six and seven of the ALCS, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, but man was it worth it. The crowd was enormous. The lines were hours long. People were hugging each other and crying and cheering. This was nothing like my first game experience and it was beautiful.

After a seven game series that had most of us excessively chewing our fingernails and pulling out hairs, we can say “we” made it — because that team belonged to us. It carried our hopes and our need for hope carried them. We did the impossible, overcame all odds and became champions.

I remember waiting in line at Academy after work, Nov. 1, just to purchase a shirt that said World Series Champs on it. I was early, but the line quickly grew to be hours long.

Friday, nearly 1.5 million people flocked to the city of Houston for an Astros parade that only lasted about 10 minutes. I rushed out of class to make the hour-and-a-half long drive. Kids were climbing trees just to get a glimpse of their heroes. A mass of bright orange and blue could be seen from helicopters circling above.

Even if you couldn’t see more than the confetti falling down, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to say we were there. We were a part of something great. We all waited hours, days and weeks — others had waited years, to say, “Houston, we have a championship.”

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP sports editor

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