Michael C. Obel-Omia: Red Sox fans should be grateful for five months, anyway
01:00 AM EDTonFriday, October 7, 2011
By Michael C. Obel-Omia
Last week was difficult. As an inveterate, dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan, I have suffered. What has occurred can be described as catastrophic, disastrous, calamitous, and even cataclysmic, if you are a Red Sox fan. No team in baseball history has entered the month of September with such a secure hold on the playoffs and let that grip slip. The Atlanta Braves also lost a huge lead and fell from playoff contention this week, but somehow the Sox failure seems more apocalyptic.
The baseball gods’ decision to smite us makes it seem that Armageddon is nigh.
Part of the reason that this loss seems so awful is our perspective. If you are a Tampa Bay Rays fan (or a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, who caught the Braves from 10½ games back in late August), then the events of the past 30 days seem phenomenal, extraordinary, miraculous.
Imagine the excitement you might feel were you living in Tampa when the Rays, down 7-0 in the eighth inning to a playoff-bound team, rally to score six runs in the eighth and then have a .108 batting pinch-hitter smack a two-out, two-strike home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it into extra-innings, and then have your star player deliver a game-winning home run to send you into the playoffs. You’d be on Cloud 9.
But I don’t live inTampa, and I don’t share that joy.
Listening to fans lament the Red Sox debacle, however, I have been embarrassed. Sure, the loss hurts, but I sense that the reason people are so angry, so frustrated, has less to do with the disappointment naturally associated with a team’s failure and more to do with a sense of entitlement that New England fans now have.
Over the past decade,Bostonprofessional teams have won three Super Bowls and played for a fourth; won two World Series and were a hit away from playing in a third; won an NBA title and were six minutes away from a second one; and won a Stanley Cup. Peter Keating, in an article in ESPN the Magazine, suggests arrogantly that the reason Boston has better sports teams is that we in New England are smarter than everyone else. I shuddered when I read that, because it is that kind of arrogance that made this recent failure hurt so much.
We expect championships yearly and believe that we deserve to win always. That’s a dangerous and unhealthy way to live life. We are owed nothing in this world, so we should be happy with what we have.
Martha Washington, wife of our nation’s first president, said, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Instead of spending time being angry and upset, spend your time being grateful for all that you have. Each day we have 86,400 seconds: Have you used even one of them to say “thank you”?
Remember to be grateful for all that you have. I’m grateful that the Sox gave me five months of pleasure. Look for the good in life and be grateful for it.
Thank you, Red Sox, for a fun, suspense-filled season.
Michael C. Obel-Omia is head of school at thePaulCuffeeSchool, inProvidence.