We #CameTogether (Though They Came Apart...) - #stayJaysstay
I remember walking up forgetting what had happened the night before.
I did my regular routine.
I stretched, brushed my teeth and got cleaned up and started to make my way down the stairs of my old house when it all came back to me -
"I got dumped last night."
Suddenly my 13 year old self was void of all confidence. I remembered being told why (I don’t remember it now but it was probably one of those “It’s not you but it IS you” moments…) and realizing that I would see this girl at school in just over an hour's time. I was sad. Very very sad. Everything on the way down the stairs of my childhood home felt like slow motion, sickness and regret all in one. And I was 13 years old.
That’s how I feel this morning after watching the Jays lose to the Royals. I woke up and I forgot. Then I remembered Pompey on 3rd, Pillar on 2nd and three outs and the series being over and the Royals rejoicing and the Jays walking into the clubhouse or sitting in the dugout watching the same Royals as I was. And it hurt a lot. The only difference between the two stories is that I shouldn’t care about the Jays as much as I cared about a girl at 13. They aren’t family to me. They didn’t directly call me to say “Hey Chase, it’s not you. But it IS you. So we’re gonna lose, ummmmkay? Hope you find someone better!” I haven’t met any of them before so why should it matter (…though if I did, I would want to meet Stroman, then Donaldson, then Lowe, then Revere, then fresh lined-up Martin, then Pillar, then Travis, then Sanchez. They seem to be the most fun out of the guys. I’d met Dickey too but for very different reasons. He is an Obi-wan type guy…)? Yet this morning I woke up imagining this ending differently and mentally preparing for game 7.
But there’s no 7th game coming. So today, instead of trying to avoid a girl in a very small private school, I’m trying to avoid all sports media so I’m not reminded of what I already know. But that’ll be impossible and eventually, it’ll all be in front of me. And it’ll hurt again. Which is dumb, because it’s sports and not even something that I’m participating in! But alas, that’s what sports do. Former Michigan Wolverine Chris Webber says it this way (and he should know a bit about coming up short): “Sports is fair to all because it is unfair to all” and I believe him. There can never be two winners (unless it is the Olympics). One team, and their fan base, will feel what I’m feeling and the closer to the main prize, the harder the feeling.
And this may never happen again, which is even sadder. The best part of the Jays run was seeing the entire city and country #COMETOGETHER, man. The day of game 6, anyone with Jays gear on (and it was a lot) would nod at each other with confidence. When the Jays lost game 2, people walked through my local Loblaws like zombies while choosing name band cream cheese instead of the great stuff from Philly. When I was downtown after watching Marco Estrada pitch the game of his life in Game 5, my friend Scott and I were just blown away by how connected our city was to this team. Twitter was super fun, even though my honest assessments per inning got me slammed by my friends for having no faith:) Maybe it’s all connected to when that girl dumped me…or maybe I’m WAY over analyzing my own past. But the fact is that for 4 months, the Blue Jays were one of the most exciting things that have happened to all of us in a long time. My daughter knows that Bautista hits the ball hard (we played pretend baseball last night before the game and she HAD to be Joey Bats). Wifey wants Jays gear. Liam…doesn’t really care about anything he can’t eat so there’s that…it was all consuming.
No other team will do what the Jays did. If the Habs/Leafs/Sens/Oilers/Flames/Jets/Canucks make the Stanley Cup finals, the other fans will not join their fan base for a “season”. None of us know anyone on TFC (exaggerated, I know…relax). The Raps are Atlantic Division champs but they may meet Cleveland or Chicago in the first round and that’ll be that. The Argos are an afterthought, in my books, in light of the NFL’s large presence. And the world cup of hockey isn’t Olympic hockey when the whole country believes again for 17 days. It’s a money grab that diehard hockey fans might like but won’t capture new fans.
But these Jays. That’s OUR team. That’s what filled up the Rogers Centre. That’s what sold out of all the clothing and fitted caps. That’s what caused my daughter to sadly say “But why did they lose?” this morning, forcing me to explain to her what sports heartbreak is. That’s what made twitter fun as friends from all over Canada would comment on every pitch and every game. And that’s what makes the end of this season hard to swallow.
This may never happen again. Or it may be the beginning of a huge run. The new bandwagon fans may become diehards in April (Baseball takes a long time to matter so I do check-ins from April to June/July then hunker down in August, especially if there are in the hunt). Either way, to quote the great Metallica, the Memories Remain. And for that I’m thankful.
Though they’ll never see this, thanks much be sent out to the entire Toronto Blue Jays organization. It’s been a blast. Here’s hoping you can bring the rain in 2016.
And now to avoid my “breakup” for the entire day. Nope, can’t. My kids made a Jays shrine with all my hats and gear. Looking at heartbreak right in the face.
EXTRA THOUGHT - Sports heartbreak is the worst because it destroys your trust but invites you with a couple of wins to trust again, only to eventually break your heart again. It happens to everyone. And it sucks.