Alright, I know my title isn't up to its usual clever goodness, but it's late, so give me a break, OK? I came to thinking about this post while watching the Cardinals vs. Giants game tonight. However, before I begin, I'd like to preface this by stating that I actually don't care so much about baseball, and generally I find it rather boring. (I mean, we could all save a little time if the pitchers didn't fake out first base every 3 minutes.) But I have to admit I found myself getting into the postseason last year and even more so this year, largely due to a significant person in my life who is a diehard Cards fan. So yeah, I was disappointed when the Cardinals lost tonight. I enjoy sports of any kind when they get super intense, and it's a bummer when it has to end.
Of course most of you do know that the Cardinals lost tonight. What you may not have known is that the St. John Junior Varsity volleyball team also lost tonight. (Slightly smaller headline on espn.com.) I would like to point out that I found some striking similarities and differences between the two losses that I think sheds light on life and humanity in general.
1. Losing isn't fun. I don't think that either the Cardinals or my volleyball girls enjoyed looking at the scoreboard and realizing that they were down by what seemed like an impossible amount. As I recall one of my 4th graders Molly who was out on the court and just about in tears after missing her second serve of the night, I think of David Freese, striking out for the 800th time, probably also almost in tears. David and Molly would probably have a lot to talk about after tonight. Sometimes you just can't get the job done, and losing doesn't feel good.
2. Losing is never fully lose-lose. Now, let me state for the record that I think it's ridiculous that anyone should be paid millions of dollars to swing a bat and take a lap every once in a while. But I can understand why you may think it feels worse to lose a game for a Cardinal than for a junior high volleyball player. There's a lot of money riding on those games! The whole franchise is worth millions! They should be delivering wins! Well, let me tell you what. There is a bag of Halloween goodies (including a pair of funky socks AND a pencil) that is waiting for those girls at their last practice on Wednesday. And there is probably a check for $56,000 waiting for each Cardinal when they get home, too. So it's not a total lose-lose. Everyone ends up getting what they were promised.
3. Losing doesn't last forever. There were more than a few downcast faces as the St. John JV team high-fived and "good game-ed" the other team. But a mere 4 minutes after our game was over, my volleyball girls were running around in the hallway, scrambling to get snacks from the concession stand. Now that's what I call resilience. I'd like to see the Cardinals running into the Giants' stadium after a loss, trying to snag a last-minute pretzel or hot dog. The day I see that, I'll think, "Hey. There's a guy who's got his priorities straightened out."
I guess what I'm saying is this: no one likes to lose. This much is obvious. We spend a lot of time practicing our craft to produce winners. If you're a Cardinal, you've been spending the last 20-30 years of your life intensely training for the moment when you get to make it count in front of the world. If you're a JV volleyball player, you've been spending the last eight weeks spacing out in practice and complaining that your canker sore is going to make it difficult to run laps. It's basically the same thing. So when it comes down to the wire and we can't quite nab the win, it's disappointing. However, I think if the Cardinals could all find the 4th grade girl deep inside them, they'd be better off for it. So if any of you Cardinals are reading this (Hi, guys), try to look at the bright side - there's usually ice cream waiting for you when you're done.