By Will Martin
Suffice to say different things drive different people. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
You take on a hobby, a love or a passion you ultimately decide just how far you want to take it.
Some hobbies are of the idiosyncratic nature, and some are of the much saner variety.
Since October 14, 1996 every ticket stub from any sporting event, movie, broadway play, special event, you name it has been saved by yours truly.
Much like the days I kept a diary when younger something told me it would be a good idea to follow the path left behind wherever life took me.
Dallas Texas has been a blessing in that if there’s something that fuels your fire invariably something or someone will lead you on a path to a new or different destination.
This was the case when I was befriended by a young man (who shall go nameless) who is now very involved with the team of FC Dallas.
Twelve years ago he sold me on a ticket package for the Texas Rangers. Next thing I knew I was on a collision course with 70-75 games a year for seven years before getting back to my media roots. Through mutual friends the same happened with the Stars, Mavericks, Cowboys, Astros, and FC Dallas.
All of my adult life my travels sent me to cities where only American League teams play baseball. Northern New Jersey in conjunction to Yankee Stadium, Chicago close to what was then old Comiskey Park, minutes from Anaheim California, one block from the old Kingdome and what is now about to become 15 year old Safeco Field, one block from GloBe Life Park in Arlington.
Heck, just blame me for the Houston Astros being the first team in the 114 year old history of the National League to go American. I have that kind of effect.
Along the way you read and hear about milestones, records, and events of note. The following will be of a personal nature as a fan of sports. For those crazy enough to have a hobby count one of mine as being able to say that you have seen each team of a given sport in person.
41 years of baseball games attended in my lifetime in American League cities, once the interleague play came into being in 1997 seeing National League teams became easier to get access to. Still prior to 2013 there were two teams I had not seen in person.
June 30th 2013 I was finally able to shake the hand of Thom Brennaman and catch the Big Red Machine at Rangers Ballpark. This meant there was only one ballclub in Major League Baseball I had yet to watch in my lifetime.
The first of two visits May 7th by the Colorado Rockies would end that sojourn. Looking back it has been quite the journey. Prior to year 2000 the three teams I saw the most were the Angels, Yankees and Red Sox. Teams I always loved, hated and always respected. After 2000 that shifted to the Mariners with many a visit to the Kingdome and the then brand spanking new Safeco Field.
2001 until now the kid became all-Texas. Courtesy of the Mavericks, Stars, and FC Dallas all teams of the NBA, NHL, and MLS have been seen in person.
MLB-the first love of all sports-now joins that family of completion. Again, perhaps a dumb proclamation to show one’s obsessive love for a sport, a hobby, a passion. Someone had to do it. I’m sure I’m not alone. For all the time and money invested as a single man, it’s a hobby that has given back one hundred fold.
Other hobbies within the game watching, photography, videography, podcasting, all came after to add to the fun.
They say when you give up one obsession, you’ll trade it in for another one or others. Here I stand as proof of such a declaration.
So as the Colorado Rockies prepared to take on the Texas Rangers for a two game set and down the road the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL prepared for a heavily anticipated draft it occured to me that the NFL is the last league that needs to be competed for viewership.
Currently, on the NFC side 12 of the 16 teams have been seen in person. On the AFC side that number is 9. This leaves 11 teams to go see in the next couple of years when they visit Dallas and Houston for the sake of pro sports completion.
At that point I’ll take up golf courses throughout the US. Maybe a summer long trip of minor league parks of the triple A variety, or a trip to every pro baseball park. The ultimate guy thing.
It’s been a heck of a ride, to be sure.