“…I have learned to be content with whatever I have.”
[Philippians 4:11 NRSV]
Having been through three World Series losses in the past 21 years, two of them as part of the Cleveland organization, I can’t tell you how much more devastating this defeat was.
I am sitting here drowning in sorrow. Yet I can’t explain why.
I never expected the team to get this far. I truly had no emotional investment in these players that the city embraced so fervently. Other than an occasional email or Facebook post from former co-workers, there was little connection with anyone in the baseball industry. When I entered seminary in September of 2000, I effectively turned my back on the sport.
But in the last two weeks, I allowed myself to get caught up in the emotion of the playoff moment. I bragged obnoxiously when this team looked as if they might pull off the improbable. I conceitedly reveled in the admiration of those who knew of my previous life in baseball. I even pulled out my 1997 American League Championship ring and wore it pretentiously to the office on the eve of the opening game.
And this morning, I feel like a jilted lover. The tease and titillation was, in the end, just that. Seduced by the sirens’ song, I succumbed to the shipwreck that was game 7.
8-7, are you kidding me?
I’m not quite ready to congratulate Cubs fans, many of whom, on other occasions I call friends. I want to wallow in my misery for one more day. I want to hearken the heartbreak of ’95, ‘97, and now, 2016.
Maybe it’s not meant to be that Cleveland will win a World Championship in baseball in my lifetime. After all, a lot of bodies have been buried in the 108 years since the Cubs last held a victory parade. But Chicago has the Black Hawks, the Bulls, and the White Sox, who have all won several titles in the interim. Don’t try to console me with the Cavaliers.
So for the next several hours, perhaps days, allow me to sulk in solitude and grapple with my grief. I will emerge eventually. This too shall pass.
I thank God that in times like this, I can seek comfort and refuge in the Word. Hopefully, those of you who feel as I do, can also find some solace there. The scriptural reference above from Paul’s letter to the Philippians has served me well in the past, under much more serious circumstances. And I will let Paul speak for me in closing:
“In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.” [Phil. 4:14]