Monday, September 27, 2004

Monday Morning Sports Page

If you're like me, and I know I am, you may be familiar with that special relief that comes at the first sign that your shaky but to this point successful effort to avoid spectacular failure is about to be exposed as the horrible fraud you always suspected it to be. It's really a kind of catharsis the way one moment can transform months, perhaps years, of tenuous hope into a clear path to certain doom. This is the kind of reprieve afforded a blindfolded boxer when he learns via impact the exact force and direction of the inevitable knockout blow. Hmmm maybe a blindfolded boxer is too hopeless. Imagine instead one who is accused of a murder he did not commit but who expects to be convicted due to overwhelming circumstantial evidence. Next, let us say that the accused did carry a degree of animosity toward the victim, not quite enough to wish him dead perhaps, but certainly enough to cause the accused to wonder to himself whether or not he does bear at least some guilt for the crime. In this case we can assume that our protagonist technically deserves to go free but is not confident of his prospects either practically or morally. Now if you can put yourself in this person's place at the moment the sentence is passed, then you know what I'm talking about.
And, of course, if you happen to be a Cubs fan, then you must have some inkling of where I might be going with this. The Cubs had their glorious moment of deflation delivered to them on Saturday when Chicago native Victor Diaz hit a game tying three run homer in the ninth inning which paved the way for the Mets' 4 to 3 victory which effectively ended the Cubs season. They may still have a 1/2 game lead in the NL wild card race but that home run was exactly the kind of transcendent moment that people just do not recover from. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Case in point, the stunned Cubs blew another one on Sunday. The Cubs continue to play out the pointless string tonight against Cincinnati.

Should the Cubs and their fans wish to avoid yet another episode of this too oft repeated drama, perhaps they could learn a thing or two from the Mississippi State Bulldogs who certainly managed to dull the pain of their 51-0 loss to LSU by eschewing any initial doubts as to the outcome. The easiest way to avoid disappointment is surely to have never possessed any hope to begin with, or as Homer Simpson might say, trying is the first step toward failure. Our prayers are now focused on the Tigers who are doubtlessly harboring illusions that await exploding at third ranked Georgia this weekend.

As for the most deluded bunch of all, don't think we don't see you, Saints fans, getting your hopes up just because you beat the NFL's worst head coach on Sunday, expecting big things out of Aaron Stecker in the coming weeks, watching literacy advocate Aaron Brooks come through in the clutch yet again, realizing that Joe Horn is really Superman, licking your chops at the prospect of facing hapless Arizona next week... see now even I'm doing it! Well knock it off. Fortuna's wheel will spin you and your no defense having team downward soon enough.

I'll end this short dissertation on the importance of knowing one's role in the universe with a line from my current happy reading diversion Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore in which the protagonist, a Jew, objects to what is implied by Taoist monks who are trying to teach him the importance of ignoring what is past or what is to come and simply living in the moment. His question, "Without the past where is the guilt? And without the future where is the dread? And without guilt and dread who am I?"

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