Opening day is one of my favorite days of the year. If I’m being completely honest, I might even like it more than Christmas. I love the smell of the grass and the concessions. I love the sound of the bat connecting with the ball. I love the excitement that comes with thinking of the possibility that this year might be better than I expect, even though that rarely happens.
My Redlegs gave me only disappointment last season, but somehow here I am, once again eagerly awaiting their return and more than happy to offer them hours of my time and dollars from my bank account in exchange for what could very likely be another year of disappointments. This has been my routine for at least the last twenty years. And only a few times have I felt satisfied with our transaction of my time, emotions, and money for the entertainment of their attempt to win a championship.
Year after year I’m seduced back by their call. And I don’t even mind. There have been a couple of times I was so devastated by their failure that I genuinely hurt. They made me feel real emotional pain. After their loss to the Giants in the 2012 playoffs, I felt worse than I did after my first girlfriend dumped me. Yet, I continually forgive them.
It’s funny how easy it is to forgive our favorite sports team each season. It’s like we don’t even have to think about it. We just do. For me, it now requires little to no effort. It’s past even being a habit. It’s just part of my life and who I am.
Why isn’t it that easy for me to forgive real people? I mean, I know Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are actual humans and everything, but they’re not as real as my family and friends, and neighbors, and co-workers. So maybe I need to remember that the popular definition of forgiveness—“letting go of the hope for a better past”—applies not only to the disappointments of my favorite teams, but more importantly, it applies to the disappointments of those around me.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, someday, I can say forgiving the real people in my life is just part of my life and who I am?
Photo (Flickr CC) by Chris Miller