We all experience them; in sports, in life, in finances, in relationships. These losses become a part of us, with our reaction to them defining who we truly are as human beings.
However, some losses are much tougher to bounce back from than others. Some feel as if they will never stop haunting you.
The emotions that I experienced this Sunday as a Falcons fan are all too familiar to anyone who supports the Texas Rangers. As the Patriots won the coin toss to start overtime, the resounding thought that crashed through my skull was simply “Game 6”. My internal screams were deafening.
To this day, I still feel repulsively nauseated every time I see Nelson Cruz misplay that fly ball, whenever I hear the call from Joe Buck, or whenever I even see an image of David Freese. I imagine the same will go for Tom Brady, James White, or even the explanation of NFL overtime rules (for real though, someone fix those).
Some losses are much tougher to bounce back from than others.
I have no way of knowing this for sure, but I imagine that those nauseated feelings will remain until either team finally wins it all. Maybe those losses would be easier if either team had ever won a championship. Maybe all championship losses suck equally. I have no idea.
But I do know this:
Next Tuesday, as pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Valentine’s day, my heart will be full and those pangs of sorrow will once again be pushed away and replaced by youthfully exuberant hope.
That’s one of the most incredible things about sports.
At the beginning of every season, we all have it. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the Patriots, Cowboys, or Browns. The feelings are shared regardless if your closet is lined with gear from the Rangers, Cubs, or Braves.
The offseason, the new crop of free agents, the buzz surrounded the hot new prospects, the early sales of tickets; it all combines to provide this incredible sense of hope.
I look forward to that feeling, as should all of you.
As the 2016 Texas Rangers season came to an end with that familiar feeling of disappointment, we were all left with so many questions. Doubt overcame hope.
The fanbase was told that there was no money for free agents a month after they voted to have their taxes fund a new stadium.
Fan favorites such as Ian Desmond, Derek Holland, and Mitch Moreland were allowed to walk away.
Adrian Beltre got a year older.
Joey Gallo struck out again (probably).
Despite all of that, here we are again, with many questions left unanswered, yet slowly filling with hope.
We welcome back the old gang with open arms, as first base becomes a combination of party-incarnate Mike Napoli and new-kneed Josh Hamilton. We joyfully look forward to full seasons of Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy (and hope ownership mystically finds money to extend them both). We hope Rougie strikes out less and walks more. We hope Nomar keeps a hot bat for the entire year in his second season. We hope Gallo recovers from the swinging yips and Profar finds his old form.
Sports, much like life, marks time through disappointment met with new beginnings, only to repeat the cycle again and again, with the joy of victory being so rare that few of us actually know it.
Regardless of how hard things are, how difficult a loss might be, or how long it may take you to recover, every single spring, baseball is there. So is hope.
I’ll see you next Tuesday.
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too”- Yogi Berra