Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why We Love Sports.


Game seven. It’s what every baseball fan dreams about. After a 162 game marathon season, and a nearly month long postseason, it all comes down to this one all-hands-on-deck game. We’ve watched the ebb and flow of this series play out before us, two evenly matched teams neither of which has managed to win consecutive games. Game seven will take care of that.

In my opinion, the Royals have played better baseball, but the Giants have had Madison Bumgarner. The 6’5” 235 pound left handed pitcher from the sticks of North Carolina has been a magician on the mound in his two starts, and the Royals have looked outclassed against him. Luckily, he won’t be starting tonight’s game, but if Tim Hudson falters early, I expect to see that big, goofy kid lope in from the bullpen. So, if the Royals plan on winning the game, they better score early before that happens!

Although I would love to see the Royals win, at this point even that doesn’t matter. Either team would be a deserving champion. I just love the immediacy of it, the all or nothing, now or never strategy that will be forced on the naturally risk averse managers. At the end of this night the matter will be decided.

Don’t you wish this was how all of life worked? While it is true that we confer far too much glory and adulation, not to mention money, on sports in this country, one of the reasons we do is game seven of the World Series. In this increasingly complex, interconnected world where one thing always leads to another, where no great issues are ever decided once and for all, where ultimate victory is so seldom achieved, sports provides moments of clarity. Just try to imagine what a ticker-tape victory parade would look like the day that we win the War on Terror, a V-T Day, if you will. You can’t, because it will never happen. That conflict will crawl along for generations. Or, how about the interminable cat fight between Democrats and Republicans, the left vs. right? When will someone finally prevail in that 200 year tug of war? Not going to happen. And what about this epic good vs. evil thing that human beings have been a part of since Eden? This side of eternity, that battle is an endless stream of inconclusive skirmishes.

But tonight, there will be an answer. The matter will be resolved. There will be a winner and a loser and it will be recorded in the record books. One team will be vindicated and the other vanquished. Unlike in the sterilized world we have tried to create, the real world produces winners and losers. Not everyone gets a trophy, only one team takes the champagne bath, and they do so with callous disregard for the potential hurt feelings of the guys in the other clubhouse. Instead of endlessly frustrating gridlock, the great contest will explode in a fireball of spectacle.
And this is why Americans love sports.