I have to admit that when I bought a ticket to go see the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs play the Sugar Land Skeeters, it was a circuitous route. Apparently, there is a new baseball team in Portland called “The Pickles,” and because I knew I wouldn’t be in Portland long enough to see a game, I wondered if they would come east. They, in fact, will not. It’s not even the same league. So, I’m looking through the Blue Crabs’ schedule and notice that my home town team (though put in long after I left) is going to be in Maryland the weekend after I get home from Bryn’s wedding. The ticket was less than $20 ($13 plus all the fees they seem to make up), a great price to see my two of my three favorite states duke it out.
For those that are unfamiliar with the area, Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston to the southwest, in one of the country’s fastest growing counties, Fort Bend. It’s called “Sugar Land” because it was the home of the original Imperial sugar factory. My family moved there the summer before I started 11th grade, and I ended up going to school there for a not so small reason- Houston traffic. The rule that you had to live in HISD to attend HSPVA was put in action when I was in 10th grade, so I was grandfathered in if I wanted to stay. However, the thought of commuting 45 minutes (more if the traffic was bad) to school seemed daunting since I’d just gotten my driver’s license.
It was not a small decision to switch schools, because back then I didn’t know that the symphonic band at Clements was actually better than the one I was currently in. They didn’t have a jazz band, so I auditioned for choir, instead. My two claims to fame from those years are that I was the first student to be in the top band and the top choir at the same time, and the first student to be openly gay.
I didn’t know that I was the first to be out, though. I learned it when Lindsay was a freshman at Clements, the year I was a freshman in college. Apparently, there were a bunch of kids with rainbow ribbons on their backpacks and Lindsay asked them about it. She told me that they said, “we do it in honor of this kid, Leslie.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. In retrospect, I’m not sure I’ll ever do anything more important in my life than pave the way for others to be brave in a conservative Republican suburb.
During my 11th grade year, I went back into a very large closet and told no one, because in a magnet school like ‘PVA, none of my church friends and school friends crossed over (as if it wasn’t obvious just by looking at me….). My senior year, my dad left the ministry and all bets were off. I wore my pride rings every single day, I flirted with girls (one in particular), and to my surprise, no one thought anything of it. The reason I was so surprised is that HSPVA was a nightmare (this is a link to a paper I wrote my senior year about my time at ‘PVA) some days. On others, it was fine.
I owe Sugar Land a lot in terms of my growth and development, but not sure I owe it enough that I automatically believe the Skeeters should win. 😉