Moustapha El-Hakam, an Astros fan "my whole life," was concerned about the team heading home to Minute Maid Park, trailing the Yankees 3 games to 2 last week in the American League Championship Series.
Family meeting ... what can we do to help the Astros get their mojo back?
With permission from wife Rebekah and their four kids, El-Hakam dug out his replica vintage Astros jersey, batting gloves from a Clements High School alumni game, and borrowed son Leeland’s authentic Astros batting helmet, a birthday gift from grandma. The helmet swims on Leeland's head, but fits Dad perfectly. No complaints from Dad about that.
El-Hakam was sitting Section 134 for Game 7. Fox TV cameras found him, in full Astros gear, cheering for his team. Naturally, he wore the helmet and batting gloves only when the Astros were hitting. He didn't want to wake up the Yankees' bats against Charlie Morton.
“My phone started exploding in my pocket. Friends were saying, ‘Hey, you were just on national television!’ I had no idea,” El-Hakam said.
The next day, websites like MLB.com, CBSSports.com and Bleacher Report, bloggers and Twitter people, picked up on a GIF of El-Hakam in his Astros get-up. They left comments like, “Get back in the dugout, bro!” and “If the Astros need a pinch hitter, this guy is ready."
He became a post-game internet sensation. And bit of a mystery man. I found him after a Horn Elementary School parent contacted me and said, “I know you write about quirky things … his name is Moustapha El-Hakam. His wife Rebekah is vice-president of our school's PTO in Bellaire.”
Moustapha is an attorney with a litigation firm in Houston. He grew up in Alief and Sugar Land and played baseball for Clements High School. Now he coaches his sons in Bellaire Little League. Rebekah, in addition to helping Horn Elementary PTO, is a contemporary Christian recording artist and Worship Pastor at Church of the Apostles. Her latest album is called Radiant You, available on iTunes and CDbaby.com.
And don't fear fans: Moustapha says he'll be back in his Astros helmet and batting gloves this weekend as the World Series heads to Minute Maid Park.