I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it.
Oh last night. Last night was quite a night, folks. Last night witnessed not only the third and final debate between United States Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, but it also saw the fifth (and eventually final) National League Championship Series game between the Los Angels Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. And which of these two events did I watch? Which one got the pleasure of my attention? Which one captured my heart?
THE PHILLIES OF COURSE!!!
Going into game four, I was slightly conflicted. Before the first pitch on Monday night, I didn’t yet know where my fidelity would eventually fall in game five. I had illusions of perhaps splitting the difference, of shifting between the two epic showdowns with mutual respect and regard. But then Shane Victorino hit his home run in the seventh inning to tie it up. And then Matt Stairs smacked a game-winning two-run slammer to seal the deal, and I thought, “Who am I kidding? Of course I’m going to watch the Phils!”
Going into last evening, I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt in potentially shirking my civic duty for the seemingly “more important” Presidential debate. Going into last evening, I didn’t give a toss for the frivolity of sport. Going into last evening, all I saw was red. And even if they had lost, even if this series had been forced back to Philly for a sixth game, even if the Phillies were not going to the WORLD FREAKIN’ SERIES, I would feel the same as I do right now. To some of you, this may seem silly, but let me explain.
To begin with, sports is silly. It’s a trivial and inconsequential passion—but that is what makes it so beautiful. The zeal for a sporting event or team is the only emotional investment in life that has no lasting consequence. To be sure, love, politics, finance—all of these are noble and worthwhile pursuits, but each of them carries the inevitable weight of cause and effect. In each, the lasting results of success or failure carry with them potentially heavy outcomes. When it comes to sports, however, the result has no genuine bearing on the future of one’s life. It is, after all, only a game.
But let me tell you, this feels good. Really good! The last time the Phils went to The Show, I was 12—and we all know how that ended. Last night, watching the game with my family, I was suddenly thrown back to those more carefree days of my youth, and suddenly I am faced with the chance to wash clean the stain my broken heart left behind in 1993, and suddenly this is the only thing that matters. At least right now. When all is said and done, I’ll go back to following this whole president thing. Hopefully I’ll be wearing red and white to the polls.
Way to go Phillies!!!!