The Meaning Of The Astros’ Win To MD Anderson

The Meaning Of The Astros’ Win To MD Anderson


Leonard Zwelling

Truly it was a gift to a city that deserved one.

Like Brooklyn’s Boys of Summer, the 2017 Houston Astros captured the hearts of a city that has felt like it was under siege for two months. Even as houses are rebuilt, it is evident that Houston will not be the same. Three major floods in three years has made it self-evident that man has played some sort of role in this recurrent disaster and it will take man to try to prevent future floods. If that means building in certain spots can no longer occur, so be it. If bayous need to be widened yet again, let’s get on with it. If we need to be more careful with our green space, then careful we ought to be. If Houston can bounce back from Harvey, and it can and it will, it can begin to put into place procedures to try to head off the inevitable next flood to the best of its ability.

In the mean time, the entire city seems to have had its collective spirits lifted by the Astros. For certain, this is the biggest sports story in Houston since the Rockets won back-to-back championships over twenty years ago and the cast of characters who have contributed is always likely to be greater in baseball than in hoops. And it was.

I do not need to recapitulate the many great moments where individual effort stood out. But I think it is the joy with which these players exerted their maximum effort in a collective fashion that is so uplifting. Not only did they win, they won like champions and like kids. It was as much fun to watch as any sporting event I have witnessed since Duke beat UNLV to set up their first national championship in 1991.

Even as there were many heroes on the field of play, there is one who needs singling out because his effort is germane to what faces MD Anderson in the near future. Like the Astros, the Anderson suffered hard times and like the Astros the Anderson has started to put together the pieces of a championship run. The key for the Astros was the unique combination of an owner willing to do what it took to get the players he needed while allowing his general manager to put those pieces together. Then they both trusted the field manager, AJ Hinch, to use his experience as a player and his psychology degree from Stanford to figure out how to put those pieces together and convey trust to a team made up of very different people from different parts of the world and with different levels of experience.

If Admiral McRaven is in the owner’s slot and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs is the general manager, Dr. Pisters has the managerial role. If he performs even half as well as AJ Hinch, the future of MD Anderson is in good hands.

The Astros are an inspiration to a city in need of just that.

They should also be an inspiration to the faculty and staff of MD Anderson. The past was bright. The present is uncertain. The future could be the stars.

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