From Little League to the Majors, it’s fun to watch the winning team celebrate their victory. Guys pile on each other. They hug one another. Some come flying in from the outfield to land on top of everyone else. They roll around on the ground. There is a lot of laughing, some tears of joy, lots of yelling. And, of course, the manager/coach gets doused with a huge container of water (often ice cold). There is some kind of recognition on the field – trophy given, Most Valuable Player announced, that kind of thing. Sometimes parades follow the event several days later. Home town newspapers report on it and show pictures, local news stations go crazy over the last out, people talk about it at work – even if they have no idea who their players are. And, all too quickly, the victory is forgotten. Life goes on. People move on to other things, possibly forgetting the recent great achievement of their team.
Now comes the post season. For those of us who are fans, there are highlight reels to review, old games to search out online and to relive. Mostly, it’s just fallow time. I know that trades are in the works. Agents, lawyers, owners, managers are all working deals involving players (and some managers or coaches). The high-stakes maneuvering has become more and more focused on stats (i.e. statistics) and metrics….not so much on what the player HAS done, but on what he IS EXPECTED to do next year. The complicated formulas take into account all kinds of stats about the player’s accomplishments as well as age and physical condition. Timing in terms of free-agency or other factors may work to the player’s advantage (or not). Given human nature and the amount of money involved, it is inevitable that someone will get hurt. That’s the unpleasant side of the off season that I would prefer to overlook.
I can’t do anything about the nature of off-season negotiations. I can, however, write to my favorite team and express my fondness for a particular player. I can also keep focused on the positive aspects of the game. I know that in a few short months, pitchers and catchers will report to camp again. Players will show up a couple of weeks later. Everyone will be doing their best to gain a spot on the roster. We’ll be evaluating “who shows up” in terms of team chemistry. We’ll be dreaming of the long-haul season and the hopes of a World Series appearance. I will be thinking of Opening Day and the hope that such an event always brings me.
I can control my attitude and my effort. As with so many things in life, even though I wish I had more control over the situation at hand, I often do not. At the time of this writing, I am dealing with AMD (age-related macular degeneration). My left eye is the “dry” kind and my right eye is the “wet” type. The wet type is far more serious and therefore more difficult (and painful) to treat. Treatment is designed to stave off further degeneration. In a lot of cases, people halt the progression of the disease or (rarely) even see it reverse in severity. There is not a “cure,” per se. All I can do is follow the doctor’s orders, get my treatment as painful as it is, and keep moving forward. I pray for a “really good deal,” as it were; a positive outcome. But I must wait and see what develops during treatment. Like a baseball player in the off-season, I am doing what I can to stay sharp, knowing that the fate of my eyesight is not entirely up to me. Like that player, I am part of team (of doctors, nurses, technicians, family) who are working together for my benefit.
Now what…? We wait. Wait and see what develops. Keep our eye on the future, on Spring Training, on Opening Day and beyond. I won’t be inert during this period of waiting, any more than a major league ball player is. They keep up drills and fitness activities. So do I. They control the things they can, like physical conditioning. I do too. This whole eye episode one more adventure on life’s journey. That’s okay…because, after all, I’ve got this! Atta boy!