Thursday, September 29, 2016


I didn’t know Jose Fernandez.

We didn’t grow up together. We aren’t from the same hometown. We never crossed paths on the playground or at the local ice cream shop. Josh didn’t play against him in the minor leagues, and he never came over to our house for a Christmas party. He was just another pitcher, living his life in the lights and the glory of a ballpark. 

So when I woke up on the morning of his passing, I wasn’t hurled out of my bed with grief and despair. My stomach didn’t lurk as I saw all of the Twitter posts.

It wasn’t until I saw his face, remembered exactly why his name sounded so familiar. It wasn’t until I saw that incredibly, contagious smile, for me to finally have emotion. 

Even if you didn’t know him during his life, how is it possible not to love him after his death? I loved that every single picture that was posted of him was happy. He was smiling. Laughing. Joking around. Hugging a friend. Teasing a teammate. Changing a child’s life. What a beautiful way to be remembered; that even on a stage as big and stressful as the one he performs on nightly; life is beautiful, and enjoying it was imperative to him. What a legacy to leave behind, there is no doubt in any fans mind that Jose lived a happy life and found joy in almost everything.

The night after we found out about Jose, Josh and I were relaxing in our San Francisco apartment. Josh was reeling after his last outing. I could see his mind swarming with defeat; why did I give up that hit? What happened to me? Why am I struggling with my command? I was doing so well, and now?

I leaned over, obviously noticing how upset and disappointed he was in himself. “Josh, besides maybe a handful of awful people on Twitter, you’re the only one beating yourself up about this, everyone has bad days at work.” 

He didn’t say anything. That’s his tell-tale sign that he would rather just be left alone and be mad at himself.  

I turned over, and opened up my book, noticeably giving him his space and just gently said under my breath, “Imagine something tragic happened to you tomorrow, do you think the media would be able to find ONE picture of you smiling while playing this game? You need to be more like Jose.”

He smiled at me. Check.

Perspective is a hard thing to come by. You can be so fogged by your own grief, that you can't see the sun anymore. Sometimes getting out of your own way is a matter of somebody making you.

If we can learn anything from Jose’s tragedy, it needs to be about perspective. This life is such a precious entity, and it is time we start respecting exactly why we are here. Wins and losses, strike outs and walks; all so inconsequential to the fact that every single day you can get up and do whatever you want…because you are alive.

A healthy shot of perspective, that’s all anyone ever needs.

That, and maybe a smile.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

"I did it, Babe"

July 2nd, 2015
It was a perfect day on the lake. The house smelled of fish. Not the bad kind that makes you question when the trash was last taken out, but the good kind…the kind, that indicates the 15 lobsters boiling on the stove are almost done. Laughter from the dock lingered in through the crack in the sliding glass door, and the cheer coming from the opened window revealing the end to the beer pong game. Like I said, it was the perfect day on the lake.

I have grown accustomed to enjoying my summers on Sebago lake with my family without Josh. Baseball season tends to encompass many outdoor activities; like boating season, wedding season, and most definitely lake season. So even as I sipped my skinny girl margarita from my sailboat plastic cup, I checked the MiLB app on my phone, awaiting the beginning of the RiverCats baseball game. I smirked, realizing that being three hours ahead, the game was still about 2 hours in the making. He had been called up to AAA about 9 days ago, and the entire move was exciting, however also transported me back to a conversation we had three months prior.

It was the very end of March and he had just been issued another plane ticket to Richmond. Disappointed, dejected and down on himself he finished putting his toiletries into his bag and quietly said, “If nothing positive happens this year in my career, I am going to retire in September.” Shocked, yet personally relieved that perhaps it was time to start looking at life after baseball, I looked up and said, “Whatever you want, it’s your call.”

I knew he was done with the injuries, the surgeries, the expense paid trips to the disabled list. He was exhausted; and if it wasn’t for the look on his face when I saw him, it was the tone in his voice when I spoke with him. There is one thing being away from your husband and missing him tirelessly, however it is another thing to be away from him when he is miserable, and there is nothing you can do to fix, change or alter that mentality.

So, when he called me saying that he was heading to AAA, I secretly wondered if that was enough for him. Would that change the pace of our conversation in April, would this be enough to make him work through one more season?

I sauntered into the kitchen, hoping that my nose could indicate when dinner would be ready. And almost as if my mother was reading my mind, she called the family to the old, wooden table. It was an unusually late dinner. We had been drinking and boating and sunning all day, and by the time we started to get dinner ready it was already past 8. So as the seven of us took our seats at the table, melted butter in sight and bibs tightly tied behind our necks;  our lobster feast commenced. Towards the end of the meal, sun-wiped faces beginning to quiet, wine bottles beginning to empty, it was odd to hear my phone ringing. Everyone who would be calling was sitting at the table with me, and the other, was 15 minutes away from his 7:05pm game time in California. As I dabbed my fingers on the bottoms of my running shorts and looked at my screen I stated, with a hint of panic in my tone “Hmmm, I wonder why he is calling me so close to game time?” My brother, full of both fish and Boston Lager, elbowed my sister and said “Maybe he got called up.”

The next 60 seconds are hard to remember.

I stopped talking, (Maybe even stopped breathing at a point) as I felt the tears dribble down my sun-burned face.  I remember my family cheering and screaming, not because I could hear them but because I looked around and saw their bodies reacting to the happy news. It was with such joy, such glee, such terror, as I listened to Josh on the other end of my cell phone. My fingers still smelling of crustacean and butter, as my husband happily reported, “ I did it, babe.”

***365 days later. 75 MLB appearances. 53 innings pitched. 44 strikeouts. Many triumphs, some mistakes too, and here we are on Americas’ weekend, raising our glasses to you. There is still hardly a day where I am not completely in awe of everything you have accomplished ***

(It is also safe to report that quitting has completely been taken off the table)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go

For six straight years, people have been asking me the same question:
“Why don’t you travel with Josh during the season?”
When he was in the minors, the explanation was easy: He gets paid $2 an hour. The End.
However, since he’s been called up and finances have been…well…different, its been hard to answer this same question. Why DON’T I travel?!

Its true: For our baseball life we have followed one schedule. Josh is home. Josh Is Gone. Every April we say goodbye, every October we say Hello, with very little time in between. I love him. I miss him when he’s gone…but I love me too. I love that right when he leaves, I change gears into this super woman; who works full time, takes the dog out five times a day, manages the house, the bills, cleans, cooks, is a full time student, sees my friends, watches 30 hours of baseball week, schedules and plans for two, drinks wine, reads for fun, and most importantly, supports my husband. I can support him from afar, I always have. 

I hated that people just assumed because of our status change that all of a sudden my dreams and goals had to be redirected. It made me crazy that sometimes people asked, with such condescendence like, "Why are YOU still working?" Like, how DARE I work when I don't have too.  What I hated most though, was how angry I got when this question was constantly peppered at me. Almost like there was, this twinge of guilt for not being what everyone else expected me to be. The fury that rose in my stomach that was half, “I am not his slave,” yet “Am I a horrible wife?”

And then I remembered something key. Something so pivotal that it eased the regurgitating, grumbling in my stomach:
                  E   v   e  r   y   o  n  e      is   different.

Some couples NEED to spend their time together. Josh and I have never been this couple...even when we try. I'll admit it, without ANY remorse; we don't have that much to talk about. He's my best friend, but we just don't thrive off of communicating all day. We thrive off of knowing that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And time away now, is not time away forever. We can put our goals over each other, because we know in the end we would resent one another if we didn't. Pitching is one of the most mental skills in the world; its not my job to be in his head when his next pitch should be.

So it has to be said, that when turning in my resignation form to the principal of my school, I felt like I handed over my soul. As I slowly packed up the first five years of my career into boxes I am asking myself, did I make the right decision? Am I giving up my individuality, my independence, by making this journey to the Bay? Won’t I miss it too much? Am I conforming to what everyone else wanted? Will I ever forgive myself?

  • I’ll miss my students screwing up my last name like Kruk and Kuip do on TV. (Not as funny when you’re 11, and you curse at your teacher)
  • I’ll miss rummaging through my purse searching for chap stick, and finding a glue stick instead.
  • I’ll miss the kids, who ever so often call me Mom. Dad. Grandma.
  • I’ll miss coffee stains on my pants before the day has started.

That one job I have complained about for years…will, suprisingly, be missed.

It takes a conversation with my mother to snap me back into the reality driven cloud that surrounds my head. “Jess…you’re a full-time Doctoral Candidate with three more years of schooling, you just applied for summer courses at Stanford to pursue writing a book…what, for one second, makes you think you’re NOT still an individual fulfilling your dreams too?”

                        Dammit, Mom. #YouNailedIt

Get ready 94158; you need to make room for one more Osich.