Sunday, October 24, 2010

An American Tragedy?

If life was as well-scripted as the usual "reality" show, then Eric LeGrand's teammates would have delivered their fallen brother the best feel-good gift he could hope to receive in what has most certainly been the longest week of his young life. However, because there "ain't no storybook story", Rutgers watched a 14-14 halftime tie on the road at Pittsburgh disintegrate into a 20-point defeat at the hands of the Panthers. His teammates do not play again until November 3rd. Here is to hoping that the next time they take the field produces better news to report. More importantly though is the hope that between now and then, good news emanates from LeGrand's hospital room at Hackensack University Medical Center. In case you missed it, Rutgers has established the "Eric LeGrand Believe Fund" to help raise money for the medical treatment he is going to need and which is going to be very expensive.

Who knows where the 2010 Rutgers football season goes from here. While one hopes that the team continues to play relatively well and finds itself playing in a bowl game come December, among the many uncertainties in this life is the manner in which this season shall play itself out. If good guys do indeed get to finish somewhere other than last, then Coach Schiano and his kids will have success the rest of the way.

Their season at least remains a work in progress. Driving to the office on Saturday morning, I thought that not only had the 2010 season ended for the Yankees the night before in Texas but that the players had all been kidnapped into a Central American slavery ring or some such thing judging by the comments of the callers to WFAN. Note to my fellow Yankees fans: they lost a playoff series. Nothing more. Nothing less. Get over it. No one died. A baseball team lost a game. Be honest and admit that but for a five-run eighth inning in Game One, the series they lost in six games would have been over in four.

I enjoy rooting for the Yankees. Last November Margaret and I had a blast in the cold environs known as the Canyon of Heroes lending our voices to the hundreds of thousands of others who celebrated the 28th World Series title that Matsui, Damon and the rest of the Yankees captured last year. Was I happy to watch their season end as it did this year - with Alex Rodriguez staring at a called third strike as the Texas home crowd exploded in joy? Of course not - although I must confess that his recognition of the fact that having the ALCS end with him making the final out probably made the victory that much sweeter for the Rangers fans revealed a level of self-awareness that I did not realize A-Rod possessed. Their loss did not materially impact my life. Did I mention that I was listening to the anguished cries of other Yankees fans on WFAN as I headed to the office on Saturday morning? Whether they win the World Series or not, the mortgage at my house still needs to get paid.

As I suspect it needs to be paid at your house and at the houses of all of the other well-meaning but overwrought folks who called an overnight sports talk radio host as if he is their only lifeline in the wee small hours of Saturday morning. It will all be OK folks. Breathe deep. If the worst thing that happens to you this year - or any year for that matter - is that the baseball team you cheer for disappoints you by not doing as well as you had hoped, then you are having a pretty good year.

Even if it takes a moment or two for you to realize it.


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