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The Journey

September 24, 2012

It will all be over soon.

No, I don’t mean the Tigers will not make the playoffs. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. As of September 24, 2012 we are one game behind the White Sox with 10 games to play. What I mean is that the season will be over one way or another by November 1. And then what? Win or lose, no more games until March. Fans will be talking about free agents and bitching about Dombrowski. Not quite the same.

But we still have the 2012 season and as Kurt wrote today on Bless You Boys today we have an honest to goodness pennant race. Despite the team being right in the hunt, Tigers fans are not exactly enthralled with the drama and excitement this race brings.  Bitterness and consternation are more accurate.  This is almost entirely due to the Prince Fielder signing, right? It has to be.  Well, perhaps combined with the weakness of the American League central and pundits anointing the Tigers AL Central champs before the first pitch was thrown.

But are division championships our birthright?  Far from it.  In fact, Tigers success over the last 30 years has been sporadic at best.  I’m 30 years old, the last Tigers world series championship took place when I was 3. Not exactly fresh in the mind. An entire generation (working on a second generation) of Tigers fans has never seen a world series victory.  What we’ve witnesses is a roller coaster of joy and pain: The tail end of the brilliance of Trammell and Whitaker, the brute force of Cecil Fielder, the shame and comedy of 119 losses, and the surprising joy of 2006.

Now, I know some of you prefer unmitigated success. Straight to the top, no challenges. Maybe you should buy a UConn Women’s basketball jersey.  I get it, the pain of the loss outweighs the joy of victory.  I hope you enjoy cheering for the Yankees and Lakers (and now Heat)  You can have all that. But we are Tigers fans, and despite our payroll we are still the challenger.  We fight to gain something that does not belong to us, but that is what makes the successes all the more sweet. It’s the ups AND the downs that create something rich.  Why is there disdain for cliched romantic comedies? It’s the predictable ending. In the end the guy and girl fall in love and it is wonderful. Major boring.  Baseball is a real life drama, there is no certainty of success. This makes it better, not worse.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh. Failing to savor the joy and pain in each moment is not unique to baseball fans. Humans are creatures who always are saying, “It will be better when…”. When I can drive…then it will be better. When I turn 21…then it will be better.  When I finally find my mate…then it will be better.

So, let each moment count.  Savor each morsel.  Feel the pain and the joy, that is the essence of the journey.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2012 11:08 pm

    Absolutely right. I’m 36, so I was 8 in 1984. It was a great age to be to have your introduction to winning. It was also unfathomable that it would take 22 years to get back to the Series again, let alone win it. After the lost decade (and let’s not forget the terrible teams of 1989, 1996, 2002, that just get swamped in the tsunami of terribleness in 2003) I’m just grateful my team plays meaningful games nearly every day of the season. Is it frustrating they haven’t won this division yet? Yes. But it doesn’t mean I ever have given up on them.

  2. September 25, 2012 9:48 am

    Excellent sermon, Pastor Coke’s Brain. Having lived in both Houston during the last of the Astros’ glory days (2002-2007) and (ugh) St. Louis (home of the smartest fans in baseball????? from 2007-2011), I can say it’s the same everywhere. People love to take the skeptical angle so they “won’t be disappointed.”

    If as many people gave up on Detroit teams as say they do, the Lions would be in L.A. by now. Go Tigers!

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