Afternoon games kill me.
Here I am in my office, sitting in a chair that bitches under my every move, the phosphorescence of my computer screen projecting an alien glare on my face, while the deadlines for this thing and that other thing loom, and Estrada’s given up two runs in the first inning. For the love of Jesus, I think. I must be saved from this purgatory or else find my fate on the pavement below these seven storeys.
But time marches on, and so must I, for better or worse. It’s no worse than my car, this desk. Here, I can get up and walk to the water cooler, fake a smile, pretend like the fellas aren’t using win-loss records from the last two years to mask signs of the sheer panic and utter hysteria they’re on the verge of. At least, here, I can air some shit out. The inside of a car is a nasty place for a rabid sports fan on the cusp of a breakdown to be.
At least the Leafs gave me good reason. There wasn’t a product on the ice in my lifetime I really thought would win it all, or win at all, for that matter. Those guys bought, with such commitment, into the losing culture. You could hardly blame them. And the fans. For the love of Christ, they were masochists like you’ve never seen. You’d have been better off giving yourself a lobotomy than pay to see the Leafs play in the last twenty-five years. But that’s the way it was. And we were comfortable with that. Sure, we wanted better, but folks who want a better bed don’t leave the one they have for the sidewalk. We knew what we were into and, with no end in sight, we were buckled in for the long haul. Just as long as management continued to misstep, we’d be there with our jerseys, like we had some share of the equity in this beast, to denounce everything these men had ever stood for. Not my General Manager. Not my head coach. Bring on Boston on Friday night. That was the drill, and we’d take to gnawing on your wrist if you tried to take that away from us.
These Jays are a far grimmer tale. The mojo is nowhere to be found. The fans are starting to scratch themselves through the skin. They’re nervous, and they don’t like it. And I don’t blame them. The Cubs just broke a drought of 108 years, god damn it. We can’t be the next in line for a century of Groundhog days! I won’t have it. I won’t be complicit in such a thing. And, yet, despite the greying of my eyeballs and the dampening of my spirit, I don’t think I’ll need to be. These ain’t your grandma’s Maple Leafs, bubba. They got chops. These boys roll the nickels, and they’re like angry beaten dogs with their backs against the wall.
Believe it or not, I watched some of the Yankee game last night. They panned the seats, and not a one of the sorry lot looked comfortable. Looking at these Blue Jays, with the big boys headed back sometime this week, I wouldn’t be comfortable either.