I sit before my computer still buzzing from the afterglow of yet another miraculous KC Royals victory. The Kansas City Royals have just overcome their second four-run, eighth inning deficit in an elimination game. After watching the KC Royals defeat the Houston Astros 9-6 in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, I’m thinking everything is possible:
A Kansas City Royals World Series title? It’s only a matter of time.
Turning around the moribund world economy? Hey, we overcame the Great Depression.
Peace in the Middle East? Anything can happen if you never give up.
Finding an honest politician in the 2016 U.S. presidential election? Let’s not get crazy…
I also KNOW that all of those people who say sports don’t matter are blithering idiots. At this moment, I’m beyond certain that miraculous comebacks matter.
Because they make us believe.
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All of us face dark moments in our lives. Whether it’s failing a test in school. Losing a job. Suffering implacable bigotry. Or enduring a debilitating health crisis in our family, all of us confront situations where hope seems delusional. And, the problem with those real world challenges is that they take a long time to play out. To get past those obstacles and enjoy the better days that might lie ahead, we must grind away day-after-day when everything seems lost.
That’s hard to do.
That’s why sports matter. Because the games distill an entire year of effort into a contest lasting a few hours, teams can reverse “impossible” situations in the space of a few minutes. Seeing things turn around so quickly for our favorite team not only binds us through common experience with our fellow fans, those comebacks also remind us our own struggles may not be truly hopeless.
No batter how bad things might look right now.
The truth is: all of us will fail. We might not be bright enough to get the grades we want despite our best effort. Perhaps we will never get that job we’ve always dreamed of. And, in the end, all of us will meet a health crisis we cannot overcome. You can’t beat entropy.
But the worst thing we can do is to give up. Because if we give up we throw away that most precious of life’s commodities: a chance. As long as any chance remains that our bleak situation can change, we have to keep grinding and believing.
Or else we risk throwing away those things that matter to us the most.
So, thank you Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, and Wade Davis. Thank you Mike Moustakas for telling your teammates that they weren’t going to lose before another iconic eighth-inning rally. Thank you to the entire KC Royals organization that has lifted the spirits of fans across the country.
You didn’t just win a game. You reminded us how we should live our lives.