Among the many reasons why sports are an elegant vessel for life lessons: things don’t always play out like the storybook tells you they should.
Sure, sometimes they do – the Red Sox beating the Yankees after being down 3-0 in 2004 is the one you’ll keep hearing about – but most of the time, sports happen the way they happen, and then we tell the stories afterwards.
I don’t know how tonight’s game will go. Recent evidence notwithstanding, the Chicago Cubs can beat the New York Mets. Maybe that’s what happens tonight. And it certainly feels like the Cubs should win at least one game in this series, doesn’t it? How do the fates allow a season like this – “it’s magic” – to end with such a total and complete shrug?
And, of course, if that’s what happens, then we’ll come up with stories to tell. We’ll talk about how incredible the season was on the whole (it really was), and about how anything can happen in a playoff series (it really can), and about how the playoffs aren’t really a reflection of what came before (they really aren’t). I’m not sure it’ll make anyone feel better, but it’s what we’ll do.
Still, I’m not ready to do it, myself. The gods of sport will laugh in my face for saying it, but this season just can’t end like this tonight. It just can’t. There has to be some other twist, some other moment to remember. Maybe it’s not a series win, but maybe it’s the Cubs saying eff you to a sweep with a blowout tonight. Maybe it’s a monster home run in the 9th inning to walk it off. Maybe it’s a no-hitter. Something. Something to hold onto. And then, for tomorrow, hey, who knows what happens.
Maybe I’m already telling myself stories. That’s fine. It’ll get me through the next 10 hours, at least.