Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Making the hard choices

I think anyone that knows me knows that I think this year's election is of dire importance. "Wicked important" in the parlance of my home.

Tonight I sit here watching the 4th, and possibly deciding, game of the World Series. Tonight the Red Sox have an opportunity to win the World Series for the first time since 1918 (as I'm sure anyone with a pulse and a TV has been told countless times).

Now that's wicked important.

My baseball upbringing began in the summer of 1986. Some boy peaked my interest. No surpise there. I was 17 for cripes sake, give me a break. I was alone with him during the 6th game. If you don't know why that's wicked important google "Bill Buckner." I still didn't actually get it. I believe I had the gall to say, "It's OK, there'll be a 7th game, they can still win it."

So naive.

For the next 17 years I learned that we play well but August is a bad month and we tend to strand runners on base for like the whole of it. I learned that it's never over until it's over. If there's the slightest chance we can lose a game we'll make a stab at it. And I learned to keep loving the game and the team no matter what. My fledgling knowledge and near ignorance of the infield fly rule have not stopped me from questioning the management and giving spirited mid-game advice to players.

It's probably best that they couldn't hear me.

The thing I appreciate most about the people that have taught me about baseball, and about being a Red Sox fan, is that it's about the game. And if you love the game then you appreciate every play that's made, even if it means you go home empty handed...again. You appreciate how beautifully Ken Caminiti played, his speed and strength. You appreciate Paul O'Neill and even Derek Jeter from behind a haze of hatred for the Yankees. You separate Pete Rose's playing from his betting and voice your opinions on both. That's what being a good sport is all about.

So here we are on the verge of a sweep and I watch the glazed stares of the Cardinals fans and I see myself. I see that boy fall to his knees in front of the television in the 10th inning of the 6th game in the 1986 series. A car wreck of grief from the deeply loyal. You cannot look away because every moment could be the one where your team comes back and they need all the help your fervent hopes can bring. And it's just not happening.

That part of me wants the Cards to win just one.

The presiding part of me wants to wrap this baby up right now.

I believe.

There are bigger things going on in the world, though. Voters are being scammed and suppressed. Emotions are riding higher than knowledge. Ignorance is proving to be anything but bliss. I am frightened of what might happen to me; the single, lower middle class artist, only child of 2 parents who may both be retired in the next 4 years. I am frightened about the precedents being set that will haunt us for many years to come. Supreme Court Justices. I am frightened of what will happen to me when it's time for me to retire or have children or if I lose my job.

Fate is a complex thing. It requires payment.

What if fate is willing to give us only one good thing this year? My experience with 2004 to date has been that fate is being fucking stingy with the good stuff. What if we can either have a Red Sox World Series victory or John Kerry for president?

I'm a loyal fan and a patriotic American.

I choose Kerry. But it ain't easy. In fact, it's wicked hard.

I hope it doesn't come to that.

1 comment:

  1. I was raised a Yankees fan, but because I love the game, the sweep was something I was pleased to see. The Sox made baseball look like fun again (something the Yankees haven't done for me in a long time.) Of course, choosing the Tigers as your favorite team may swing you in favor of any under-dog team...