Finding the Joy (Part 2)

14 Aug

I had lost the ability to enjoy and even just root for my team.

And I knew that if I had lost that, I had also lost an important part of who I am.

And at that moment, I lifted my cocktail high in the air (you see, I did get some exercise) and vowed on my ice pack that I would find a way to get the joy back.

To Be Continued…

I’ve been a baseball fan, no, a Phillies fan, for as long as I can remember.  Some of my earliest childhood memories include rushing out to get the morning paper still wet in its plastic bag so I could read the sports page before I had to catch the school bus.  Or hiding my  blue transistor radio under my pillow so I could secretly listen to the Phillies West Coast road games way past my bed time.  (Sorry, Mom.)

And the Phillies were not a good team in those days, far from it.  In fact, I considered it a successful season if they just didn’t finish in last place.  Which didn’t happen that often, by the way.  But somehow, back then, the losing didn’t make me any less of a fan.  I think I even felt kind of a crazy pride in supporting my team even though they weren’t that good.  I was loyal, a true fan, and one day it would all be worth it.

I still looked forward to every game.  No matter how demoralizing the loss had been the night before I couldn’t wait for game time the next day for with it came a clean slate, another chance to win.

I found joy in the special moments in every game, no matter how small:  a great play by Don Money, a home run by Willie Montanez (said with such pizzaz by Harry Kalas) a great pitching performance by Chris Short.  And somehow that was enough for me.  More than enough.

Baseball was my summer companion and even as a child I dreaded the end of the season, the last game, that final out.  Which in those early days certainly never included a Post Season run.

I knew I would have a long school year and a cold winter to survive before I would have my beloved baseball back again.  The fact that my team wasn’t that good and probably would not be much better next year didn’t diminish my sadness that the season was ending and it certainly didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the start of Spring Training the following year.

Fast forward a bunch of years ( no I won’t say exactly how many) and things have certainly changed.  As Phillies fans today, we have gotten used to a baseball team that not only wins more than it loses, but wins a record number of games.  A baseball team that won a World Series, a team with All-Stars at almost every position and a season that didn’t end until deep into the Post Season.

Yes, it has been a great ride but along with those lofty expectations came much greater disappointments.  We no longer marveled at a great play (did you see the one Cody Asche made the other night?) or a masterful pitching performance like Cole Hamels’ first complete game of the year.  We expected more.  In short, we’ve gotten a little spoiled.

We forgot all the lean years and just assumed that our team would now always be in the hunt.  And we certainly were not ready to accept the inevitability that comes with any sport, that our heroes get older, their best days behind them and a team and its fans must  move on.

But the special moments of the game still remain.  The crack of the bat, the smack of the ball in the catcher’s glove, the pure joy of sitting outside on a warm summer’s night, listening to Scott and LA as we once listened to Harry and Whitey.

Yes, things do change but the game goes on.  And I, for one, intend to keep on rooting for my team, my Phillies.

I hope, dear readers, that you’ll join me.

4 Responses to “Finding the Joy (Part 2)”

  1. Michael Gillen August 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Nice, Susan, a pleasure to read.

  2. Ron C August 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    There is no joy in Mudville as long as RAJ and Dubee are present. I can only think that RAJ has pictures of the owners in compromising positions. And I don’t mean outfield.

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