Jays From the Couch writer, Catherine Stem, explains why the Toronto Blue Jays roller coaster of emotion is important to life
There were so many high expectations for the Blue Jays coming into this season that I was worried. I wasn’t worried about them not meeting expectations though, I was worried about them meeting and surpassing them. For baseball and my family life, I just needed the familiar peaks and valleys, ups and downs that have managed a steadying grace in the equilibrium that my family balances on a daily basis.
While I wrote last season about what spring training means to me, it isn’t just the beginning of the season that gets my heart all aflutter. It is the season as a whole, how it mirrors life, and how it teaches patience and resilience, two traits I am desperate to impart on my three young boys.
At a very young age, these three souls I have been charged with have had to learn that life can be hard. They watched their dad battle with everything in him against the evil foe that is cancer. During this epic and at times inspiring 22 month war, it was not only about hard times. There were times of great joy, times of overcoming obstacles, times of practicing patience. There were many battles won even though the war was eventually lost. Enter baseball.
Baseball has been a mirror to their life. The expectation of greatness, the extreme highs of winning a battle, the knowledge that there are many battles in a war. They lived in a reality where even when you try your best, fight your hardest you can still lose. All these things that happen in baseball, happened in their lives and it made it easier to swallow, made them feel less alone.
My boys have not jumped off the bandwagon. They have respect for the ride, and have come to an understanding about life and losses. They are learning to persevere, something they have seen on the field during the game. They watch as their favourite players run onto the field with the belief that winning is a possibility despite a loss the night before. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try again, just like their dad did. Just like the Blue Jays do.
“Why do so many people think the Blue Jays season is lost? It’s a 162 game season right? That’s a lot of battles to get through before you call it. Don’t they understand how it works?” -Q, 12
When an honest discussion about life and baseball happens in my family, I realize just how important the ups and downs are. The talk in the basketball world this season has been about the super teams and how only the last few minutes of the game are necessary to watch. All wins and no losses, or the equivalent all losses and no wins isn’t sustainable or watchable quite frankly. Life is infinitely more colourful than that.
I’ll take a baseball season of ups and downs over the alternative any day of the week. I’ll revel in railing against the losses and celebrating the wins. I’ll enjoy the ride. My boys will enjoy the ride. It is, after all, all about the journey, Appreciating that journey will always be a win.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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