October 20, 2006

WHEW!

Today is the first day of fall break at MBU and I am exhausted; not because of work though, because of baseball. In the last 18 days the St. Louis Cardinals have played 11 tension filled baseball games and those coming on the heels of a season ending collapse that left them hanging on to the division lead by a whisker. It has been enough to try the patience of even a devoted fan. The routine at our house has been especially wearing as we all arrived home about 6:30 PM each night, threw together a meal, and settled in for the game.

We fall into basically two camps at my house, well, really three: optimists, pessimists, and clueless. I am the eternal pessimist. My motto is “expect the worst and hope for the best.” Every ball, every walk, every hit by the other team, every strike out by our team is reason for despair. I can’t help it. My rational is something like this. I root hard for a few teams: LSU in college football, Duke in college basketball, the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams in professional football, but above all the St. Louis Cardinals. In my lifetime LSU has won two national championships, Duke three national champonships, the Rams one Super Bowl, the Saints have never played in a Super Bowl, and the Cardinals three World Series. I am 56 years old. The odds of being disappointed are in my favor! When my team gets behind I will often leave the room or turn off the TV. My son still chides me for the time I turned off the College World Series with LSU trailing in the ninth inning. They came back and won it with a walk off home run. Sorry Tigers! I just can’t help myself.

My daughter is the optimist. She will watch a 12-3 blowout until the last pitch certain that the Cardinals will come back and win. When we go to a game we stay for the entire game, no getting to the car early! She always believes that the Cardinals will win. This year she has been justified, and even though she has been perturbed at my pessimism, we still hug and jump around when they win.

Then there is clueless (Is there a game tonight? How many points do we have?). That may be a bit harsh but when someone walks in during a critical point and pushes the mute button to ask an unrelated question, well, I am not sure what else to call it. Actually sometimes I envy clueless as I sit on the edge of my chair gnawing away what is left of my fingernails and feeling flushed at my rising blood pressure.

Optimists amd pessimists though can arrive at the same point. We agree on bad calls, strategy, and good plays. We both desperately want our team to win. And when they do we are deliriously happy. Of course the optimists are not as surprised as us pessimists.

Tomorrow begins another chapter. We are fortunate to have tickets to Game Three and we will be there with all the other fans, most of whom, if they are honest, did not expect to be attending a World Series in St. Louis.

Thankfully, I can get at least one day’s rest!