I love sports, may even be a fanatic. I was bred that way. My father loved sports, my brothers love sports, and my mother loves sports. My family, especially my parents, is particularly fond of baseball. I believe that if heaven has a big screen television, my father is sitting in front of it with a bowl of ice cream and watching the Phillies. I am nearly certain that if asked my mother would say that watching the Phillies win the World Series would make her top ten memorable moments of her life (hopefully, after the days her children were born).
The Phillies lost last night. They have a five game lead in the division and are in possession of the best record in the league. As a fan of the team, it feels good. However, that loss gives me a bad feeling. You see they lost to the Giants. These are the same Giants who beat the favored Phillies in the National League Championship on their way to becoming World Series victors. Still, as the pundits and professionals remind us fans, it is a long season – a grind in fact – and I know to get worked up over each game would be exhausting. I understand the reasoning and logic. Yet, this one, well I think it means more than that.
In fact, the Giants beat the Phillies the last two nights, giving them the victory in this July series 2-1. It was the first series the Phillies have failed to win in over a month. The Phillies scored just one run in each of the last two games. During the series last fall, in which the Phillies lost 4-2, the Phillies just could not seem to get the big hit. Their offense, which had been solid during the regular season, wilted or at least was held in check by the Giants. Last night reminded me of that bitter loss and more so made me reconsider if the Phillies can win this year.
I’m sure I’m not the only Phillies fan who has considered this. We Philadelphia sports fans tend to be doubters. We don’t expect good news and don’t accept it till it is past certain. Last year, I made a mistake. I let myself get excited, cocky almost. After a mediocre first half, the Phillies were rolling during the 2nd half of the season and looked unstoppable. I was dreaming of parades and wondered if I could swing a day off from work. I was ready to celebrate my team, a Philadelphia sports team, as a dynasty. We would experience a level of greatness that has not been felt in years and drop our title of perpetual underdog (no, not loser – damn it!). Then it happened, and I am still coping.
I wonder how my father would have taken last night’s loss. I did not bring it up to my mother when I spoke to her this morning – too painful. I haven’t heard from my brothers to get their reactions. So, I am left to deal on my own. I’m just glad they play again tonight.