No this is not a reference to April Fools, though that has fun manifestations, nor some type of self-help proclamation which rightly affirms the power of the present.
This is a baseball reference. Today, (at least I have been told so) is Opening Day and when one grows up in New England and/or is a die hard baseball fan, the beginning of baseball season presents a feeling of optimism and excitement that is hard to match.
One of the beauties of baseball is that we really don’t know what is coming next. Take today for example. Try to predict the scores for any games or who will hit the first home run for our favorite team. No matter how clairvoyant we think ourselves to be, it’s probably far easier to predict the price of Apple stock or the number of times we will have to dodge distracted drivers using their cars for anything but driving. If there is any sure thing about baseball, it is that nothing is sure. Who could have predicted that the San Francisco Giants would have won the World Series last year or that the Yankees despite their steroid induced payroll, would win so few World Series over the last decade? We know how exciting it is to wake up and discover our team won a game we expected them to lose.
Yet for multiple reasons, I’m sure a lot to do with aging, today is not the most exciting day in my annual calendar. At least not for anything related to baseball. Last year in particular really doused the flames of hope. My two favorite teams, the Marlins and the Red Sox, both finished in last place. In and of itself, that is no big deal. Any realistic sports fan knows that teams experience highs and lows, both within and for complete seasons.
I am trying not to sound too cynical here or lose whatever shred of adolescent enthusiasm still remains, but last year did make clear several disappointing realities of the baseball world. In Miami, the Marlins are not as much of a baseball franchise as they are a corporate construction. The fans don’t really have much say in what the baseball team does, including what stadium they play in. It’s a bit like going to a casino. There is a gigantic welcome mat and plenty of enticements once inside, but if one does go, don’t blame the house if it lightens your wallet and leaves you questioning your better judgment.
As for the Red Sox, even the world’s foremost psychologist could not properly cure the many maladies of the team and its rabid fans.
I am sure there will come a point where I get caught up in baseball fervor again (this certainly has to do with my bandwagon tendencies) and the nature of the city in which I live. But my guess is that we as sports fans experience the ebbs and flows of enthusiasm, in much the same way that the teams we root for experience the ebbs and flows of success. Nothing is fixed in this world. Not our love for a sport or the more symbolic aspects that sport represents. Living in a tropical climate does limit some of the seasonal connotations of Easter, but if you live in New England or the Midwest, it’s hard to ignore that just as Easter represents a rebirth, so too does the onset of baseball season.
I suppose in a strange way, it’s exciting to experience a baseball season with tempered enthusiasm and relatively no expectations. For one, I can’t really be disappointed though I run the risk of not having anything or anyone to scapegoat.
Only time will tell. I hope that’s a risk worth taking.