On The Run
October. The month that many baseball fans look forward to all year. The month that makes or breaks the season of every Major League Baseball team.
October. The month that has carved a place in the history of cities and ballparks and created memories of celebration, defeat and angst in the homes and hearts of the millions of fans who tune in loyally each fall.
October. The month that never fails to remind me, in the words of Al Waterman from the movie, Fever Pitch, that I am “one of God’s most pathetic creatures…a Red Sox fan.”
I have been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember, long before they won their first World Series in 86 years back in 2004.
This October, however, it feels as if something is missing, like something is different. And the truth is, it is different. For the first time in 20 years, both the Red Sox and the Yankees won’t be playing October baseball. As a fan of the MLB in general, this is a strange concept to wrap my head around. For the first October in a long time, I can’t cheer for my beloved Red Sox and I can’t root against the Yankees.
After reflecting on this crazy notion (and watching Fever Pitch one too many times), I’ve come to terms with this empty void in October.This season should not have come as a surprise to Red Sox Nation. If one were to look at the past three baseball seasons, the Boston Red Sox have gone from worst to first and back again; 2014 has resulted in disappointment, with the Sox finishing 25 games back from first place.
Growing up, I have learned that the heartbreak of October baseball comes with the territory of being a true fan. Being a true fan means sticking with the team even when the number in the loss column is larger than that in the win column.
And I’ve learned that maybe it’s okay for the Red Sox to not make the playoffs, because then we won’t need to watch history repeat itself as our beloved players and team crumble in the postseason.
If there is anything that this should teach us, it’s that life goes on. Life goes on after game 162 of the regular season and a team has missed the playoffs.
Life will go on and baseball will continue long after Derek Jeter’s last game in a Yankee’s uniform on September 28. Like October baseball without the Red Sox and the Yankees, there will be a void for baseball teams and fans everywhere. Life doesn’t stop when it gets hard, life doesn’t stop when a team wins or loses. Life keeps moving whether we like it or not.
It’s up to us, whomever you may be, to move with it. To accept each day as a challenge and not be afraid of striking out, because while yes, different aspects of our lives will end, we can’t be afraid of failure and we can’t allow life to stop us in our tracks.
I’m pretty sure that David Ortiz, or any athlete for that matter, doesn’t step up to the plate, enter a game or begin a race expecting themselves to strike out, to fail or to run slowly. They enter the game or event ready to succeed and that is how we should live our lives. They “never let the fear of striking out keep them from playing the game.”
And neither should you.
Whether sports are relevant to your life or not, take this message: don’t be afraid of trying and don’t be afraid of failing because while not every year will result in October baseball, there will be success within every year.
I leave you with this: don’t be afraid to be like Ben from Fever Pitch who says, “I like being part of something that’s bigger than me –than I. It’s good for your soul to invest in something that you can’t control.”