There’s a reason why God created us with the need to sleep a few hours a night. There are some days which simply need to end, a demarcation line on which we can stand on the other side of and say, “Well, that’s over.” And then we face forward. Better stuff on the other side of the line, with the next roster, the new ballgame.
So it is with the slow slide towards the end of a losing season. If baseball, much as I enjoy it, ground on forever, we would have no resting of the stats, no time to allow the heavy food of the season to settle, no Opening Day to gaze upon. There is no next year without the ending of this one. You mess freely with the fantasy league and maybe flick at trade rumors. You remarshall and reset. It is a time perhaps solely created for Mariners fans.
This is also why God gave America football. Baseball offseason is not necessarily a time for sleep in American sports; we are, in these coming moments, in twilight.
The football world dims the lights on the many so that the spotlight shines on the few. Our team will not be adorning itself for the exclusive party we’d hoped they’d crash. Instead, we are preparing to snuff the lantern and turn down the sheets. In some ways, next season is already here. The wounds are being tended; the night games require a sweatshirt.
It’s felt that way for a while. It’s not The Year. It’s not even The Year Before The Year. If your team in, this period of last outs is exquisite; if you’re out, it’s excruciating. Everybody knows the masses aren’t truly equal again until there’s a single king to knock down. You can’t really concentrate on the draft until you know how your enemies have fared.
Brides know the best part of the wedding day is putting on the dress; the stupid seating charts are complete and the rest of the day’s catastrophes haven’t happened yet. It’s time for rest even before the tarp goes on the grass; we haven’t given up, but we haven’t been mathematically eliminated, either. Much.
These are the seasons and the hours which make a winning one worth it, and why bandwagon fans are granted status somewhere between Benedict Arnold and that piece of whatever you found floating in your beer after your visit to the bathroom. Suffering produces extra sparkle when your team actually manages to haul its winning percentage over .500, I guess. The fact that we live in a world in which supporting a losing sports team is considered “suffering” means we’re doing fairly okay.
We’re arguing about the future, but at least there’s a future to argue about. I’m in anguish over the last first day of school that just took place at my soon-to-be-shuttered alma mater. To battle the pain, I wrote about bacon. You have to keep track of your bacon, my friends, in times such as these. Bacon’s not all I got, though, and it’s not all you have, either. Remember the luxury of pain in sports.
It’s twilight. Enjoy the hour.
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.