First and foremost I want to tell any readers to check out Mark Dignacco's piece about Jose Fernandez which is on Top Cheddar as well. I am not writing this to compete with Mark and his tribute because what he wrote was phenomenal and I want that to get just as much exposure as this, maybe even more. I am writing about Jose Fernandez's untimely death but not so much as a tribute.
As a fan of sports and pop culture, when an athlete or icon dies I usually take a step back and think about if that person really made an impact on my life, because when it comes down to it, I do not know any of them on a personal level. From time to time I find exceptions such as Robin Williams, and Glenn Frey's deaths because Robin's movies and Glenn's music definitely both had impacts on my life. The deaths of the Lokomotiv hockey team in Russia a few years back and the few former enforcers from the NHL who passed impacted me as well because hockey has always been big in my life.
Jose's impact on me has been much different than the deaths of those I listed above, at first it doesn't even seem like I should care much. Yes it is sad that Jose died, he was a good guy and a great young athlete, he did not play for a team I root for (though i conveniently have a Marlins hat) and at times I even thought his showboating was a little much. I was shocked to see that Jose had died today once I opened twitter, the level of shock when I thought about it a few minutes later was sort of surprising, he plays for the Marlins, he wasn't one of my favorite athletes, why do I give a shit?
1992-2016........ Those eight numbers are what made me sad, due to the fact that 1992 was the year in which I was born as well. 1992 stood out to me and then the social media flood gates opened, I saw that Jose was stoked that his wife was pregnant, in a few short months Jose was going to become a father. Gifs of Jose owned the internet, usually Gifs are silly and show athletes messing up and we all have a laugh, but these were Gifs displaying the pure joy he got from hitting baseballs and striking people out. It looked as if at times that Jose could injure himself purely off of fist pumps emphatically shot into the air.
I started to think of who I was as a person just based on the fact that Jose was my age and he left a mark on not just baseball, but the sports world as a whole. Jose defected from Cuba at the age of 15, it would be easy for him to resent the hardships he had to go through and pout when he did not get his way, but he did not do that, he pulled up chairs to watch firework displays after the Major League games he played in, he hugged, he cheered. Jose is the perfect example of not taking anything for granted, he worked hard to play the sport he loved and he'd be damned if anyone would take the joy away from him.
Jose Fernandez's death caused me to think of my own life, and when I do I don't mean comparing how successful I am to him, that would be a silly comparison and not fair to myself. Often people ask me what is wrong, why I look so sad, at times I am sad, and it is something I struggle with, other times it is just the expression on my face that leads people to believe I am not happy. Jose had many difficult times in his life, to an extent that I will never be able to relate to, we both have spent 24 years on this earth, thousands of miles a part and with paths that have been completely different. Tomorrow I hope to smile a little more, fist pump a little more, and realize that the moments that make up each and every one of my days are special.