!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Reports from the Nation: There is always a lump

Sunday, October 02, 2005

There is always a lump

I have a sad, heavy lump inside of me. I have a version of this lump every year on the last day of the season. Summer is over, with my birthday always falling so shortly aftert the last day, for me, another year is over. I'm feeling old and tired and so terribly aware of how time and potential always fade, no matter how limitless they once seemed.

My lump seems particularly leaden this year. Our Boys, they were good this year, but not, it seems, good enough. I don't really know why I wanted the AL East title so much. Maybe because I was insecure about our performance all season and I thought it would be proof we deserved to be in the post-season. Partly, I just wanted the Yankees not to have it. Deprivation would be good for them, it builds character, but also, I reallly think we performed better during the season as a whole.

There's still a good chance it isn't all over today, but even if it isn't, I admit to doubting whether we've got the stuff to go very far. A few days ago, I mentioned to Jaybeans that I thought maybe it would be easier to not watch the last games. To save ourselves the stomach churning agony that our devotion always causes. I said that I wondered if it would have been better if it had never been that close, if it hadn't come down to a few, crucial games. Again. Yeah, I decided, it would have saved us a some pain, but it's a dangerous train of thought. If you don't want to live through the anxiety of September, I asked myself, maybe you don't want July or August either. Maybe you'd rather for it to all be over by June 1, maybe you'd rather not follow the game at all. And that, I was sure, would be a loss greater than any division pennet. This is what it's all about, the every day expierance of loving something for its own sake. It means jubiliation in April and a sad little lump in October. If you only love baseball because you can win titles, you're ignoring the months and months that actually are baseball.

I mean, damn, I am really going to miss that World Champions flag flying at Fenway, if and when it goes away. But whether I always realize it or not, I love not winning but playing the most. I love leather and grass, lights and shadows and all the tiny dramas and moments packed with potential. You don't have to wait 86 years for that; those things will always come back next year.

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