(By the time you read this, the game will be over. You will know what I don’t know as I write.)
The game? It doesn’t matter. Does that matter?
The Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox have each played 162 games this season. They have each won 88 and lost 74. One of them has to be the best team from their division, the American League Central. So while the rest of baseball starts the regular play-off series, these two teams play one game. A whole season comes down to one game.
I only know all this detail because I looked it up after hearing, in passing, that they were playing tonight.
It doesn’t matter.
Forty years ago, this game would have mattered mightily. Forty years ago, I was a ten-year old living in the western suburbs of Chicago. And I despised the White Sox. Unlike many people around me at the time, it wasn’t because I liked the Cubs. That came later. It was because a year earlier we had moved from Minneapolis.
I had gone to sleep summer nights listening to WCCO, the good neighbor to the great north [woods? west? memory doesn't work so well.] I had listened to Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven. I had baseball cards, I had been to games. I was a Twins fan.
And then we moved. And I despised the Sox and loved the Twins. (And the Vikings. Until they lost the Superbowl for the fourth time and I cried and gave up.). But there was no internet to listen to the games. No coverage at all. And WGN carried the Cubs and they were safe because they weren’t the Sox, And day after day I met Fergie Jenkins and Don Kessinger and Randy Hundley and Ron Santo and Glenn Beckert and Ernie Banks and my affection waned. By the time the Twins won the World Series, finally, I was a Cubs fan. (I really know how to pick them, don’t I).
But I am intrigued by my lack of interest in the game tonight. It used to matter, this rivalry. It used to trigger great emotion and even some arguments with my best friend Chris. Now, all it triggers is a post.
I think that one lesson may be that childhood obsessions fade. That is both good and bad news to parents. You need to reinforce the things that you want to last. Another lesson may be that some kids just don’t care about some things. Some of us aren’t huge sports fans. Another lesson may be that some of us may take life too seriously. There probably is a place for the playfulness of sports rivalries. And maybe I need to think about not being so grown up.
My best to both teams. Play well tonight.
by Jon Swanson
Photo graciously provided by jon.swanson, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved