As 2011 came to a close, I wasn’t exactly at the highest point in my life. Recovering from the passing of my grandfather was difficult, and it was hard for me to look at the bigger picture. 2012 provided me just what I needed to help move on.
It all began on January 6th, when I received an e-mail from Major League Baseball asking me to sign a form allowing them to perform a background check on me. I had applied for the MLB Fan Cave in 2011, but didn’t hear anything back from them. This year already had a lot of potential.
Through the next few weeks, I learned that I was selected as one of the final 50 applicants out of over 22,000 people. I was one step closer to finally getting a job with Major League Baseball, one step closer to making a dream of mine come true.
It was around this point where I got to start knowing most of my fellow finalists. In a strange turn of events, instead of competing against one another, we somehow became friends. I dubbed us the Fan Cave Family, and it has stuck ever since.
In February, I went to Florida with my family for the least relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun getting to escape the cold and go to Lakeland and watch the Tigers during spring training, but I wasn’t able to sleep. MLB announced they would be cutting the 50 finalists to 30, and those selected would be flown out to Arizona for the final interview process.
When they informed us the day we would be told either way, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Instead, I went to play some putt putt with the family. Borrowing my sister-in-law’s smart phone, I’d periodically check my e-mail in hopes that I would receive some sort of closure. Finally, I received word, I was going to Arizona.
So I flew home from Florida, had one day to prepare myself and then I was off to Arizona. Finally, I got a chance to meet the people who I had spent so much time over the last month getting to know. I’ve never felt so close to a group of strangers, and I doubt I ever will again.
To make a long story short, I wasn’t selected to be a member of the 2012 MLB Fan Cave, but it was still an amazing experience.
In April, I got a chance to go to New York to hang out with the Cave Dwellers (plus a few other finalists who also happened to be visiting at the time), and even got to watch the Tigers play in Yankee Stadium on a Friday night.
Along the way, I went to Chicago twice, and even got a chance to watch the Tigers play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Several of my friends and family got married, and I was relieved to find myself celebrating instead of mourning. Although life is full of ups and downs, 2012 gave me more reasons to be happy than any other year I can recall off the top of my head.
In October, the Tigers found themselves back in the playoffs, and I got a chance to attend both ALDS games with my father. It was a memorable experience, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it again one day.
After a five-game series with the Oakland Athletics, the Tigers swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. For the first time since 2006, the Detroit Tigers were finally back in the World Series. The main difference for me being the fact that in 2006 I didn’t have playoff tickets, in 2012 I made sure I did.
I made the decision to go to at least one game, and unfortunately it was game four. The Tigers lost a heart breaker, and the San Francisco Giants were officially the World Series champions. Even though it was disappointing, it was kind of cool to be at a part of baseball history.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year. This year I hosted Turkey Bowl XI, an annual football game played on Thanksgiving morning with my family and friends. Despite nearly blowing a very large lead, my team was able to hold on and claim victory once again. I thought that would be the highlight of my day, but I was so very wrong.
My brother and sister-in-law invited the family over their new house for Thanksgiving dinner, so off we went. Before eating, my brother stated that he had an announcement he’d like to make. Never at a loss for words, my brother went on to announce that he and his wife were expecting their first child, who will be arriving in late May of 2013. For the first time in my life, I was going to be in an uncle.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with happiness. Not just for myself, but for my brother, his wife, my parents and the rest of the family. It really didn’t matter what I was going to get for Christmas this year, I got my favorite present a month early.
I don’t know what 2013 will have in store for myself or anyone else, but I can only hope and imagine it will include a great deal of excitement and happiness. So here’s to another year of the unexpected, and hopefully we’ll all find plenty of reasons to celebrate a year from now.