I used to think of myself as a sports fan first. Always immersed in the game, and even more so now as a writer, maybe perspective has taken over.
The daily social media interaction, good and bad, is great. For a majority of my life, I’ve always been the sports fan. And like most who understand the same joy and pain brought on by, let’s be real, a bunch of millionaires hired by billionaires, the day can be empathetically won, or lost, because of how a team did that day.
It matters but it doesn’t
Well, maybe not that much.
But the resulting joy or pain is there. I think for me though, in my 28th year, I realized how that joy or pain only exists for a few hours.
Sometimes baseball sucks. Then I go to sleep, wake up, and I’m ready for it again.
— William Chase (@WillChase_) June 28, 2017
Why do we care so much? It doesn’t matter. It only affects us as much as we let it.
We care for sports, the game, as much as anyone who cares about anything. Doesn’t have to make sense. As sports fans, who live and die by every single regular season game, we know a game in June matters as much as the last game of the season. It doesn’t matter if your team is one game back, but it does matter if they lose the division by one game.
The optimist says they’re where they need to be with plenty of time left. The realist says the team is a shell of what made it so great. The optimist says they’re defending champions, it’s June, and they can get that back.
Yeah, I’m talking about the Chicago Cubs, and I love covering all the writing angles every day. I’m able to concoct what I’m thinking and convey it here.
Sports are a grind, physically and mentally. I interned for a baseball team last year, working all 70 home games, countless hours every day. I was up til after midnight working on the next day’s content for the website and social media. Then physically and mentally exhausted, I went to sleep, woke up, and did it all again.
Sports fans are passionate. They are cursing every team and player. Doesn’t matter if it’s their own, and more often than not a line might be crossed. Whether bordering on hate or just letting it consume them a little too much.
The Cubs are 39-39. They’re a little beat up physically, probably mentally. They’re inconsistent and not really looking anything like the team from a year ago that dominated every day, suffered only a three-week blip, and then got back to dominating.
Last season the Cubs were picked by many to be just that. A great team that won the World Series and they did. Generations of fans longed to see it, and tons did not. Most fans, especially those thinking they still wouldn’t see them win before Game 5 of last year’s World Series, just one loss away from elimination, likely sold their soul to the good Lord time and time again that day.
I’ll go to church. I’ll do this or that. Just gimme one World Series.
A little luck
For whatever reason, the luck worked out. They were a great team that got a little lucky. The great teams get the luck sometimes. Now as the team sputters amid great expectations, a lot of fans hate the manager, say this player sucks. Those same people were counting their lucky stars and embracing their graces just months ago.
For years, all fans wanted, was one World Series title and now they have it. Not only that, they’re in contention this season and will be set up to do so going forward. That’s all fans want. It’s all we ask. The Houston Astros look like last year’s Cubs team. A pretty safe World Series pick. If they don’t win, their fans will be disappointed.
I mean, nothing is guaranteed. No one could have expected this Cubs season to play out the way it has.
I did something I really never do, and I stopped watching a game mid-way through last night. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make me a bad fan. Tired of sports for the day, and needing a break, I shut it out of my mind for the night. And the perspective did me good. Satisfaction and disappointment from a sports team are short-lived. Our lives go on.
Our lives go on.
I’ve long considered sports a part of my life. They always will be, but I don’t know if I truly want them to hold me captive. Sports matter because they’re fun; they give us hope, provide everlasting memories, while simultaneously taking our mind off the bad things.
Sports also don’t matter. Short of those who have actually been fortunate enough to make a career in the industry, sports don’t pay the bills or put food on the table.
I think about broadcasters, writers, and journalists who cover teams professionally. They might technically be a fan, but it’s the job that comes first. How good or bad the team is doing doesn’t keep them from doing their job.
Often, I’ll think about my interview with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
He offered a little bit of background and insight into the teams he fostered a rooting interest in growing up. It was an insightful interview, as he answered all my questions. I learned how the writer goes about his topic. He happened to take the Cleveland Indians angle and so naturally he predicted they’d win the Series.
Often times fans think a certain writer has an agenda against their team. I remember reading the game previews and predictions before the seven World Series games last October. I noticed he took the Indians. Now it makes sense.
I don’t know if I’m just weary from nearly 80 regular season games, or if I’ve just been granted some newfound perspective from seeing things a little differently, maybe as a wiser fan, and maybe more as a writer. I write about the team every day so I’m always immersed, whether with the news, the good and bad fans’ takes.
At the end of the day, this team has a World Series and will be a good team, year in and year out. I remember the last postseason and how excited and stressful that was. If I happen to be watching the next one, void of personal self-inflicted fan drama because my team isn’t there, so be it.
Last year’s Cubs proved how a little luck and a lot of talent go a far way. We should be happy. I’m content.
Also published on Medium.