I say this often: At the end of every season, regardless of the sport, only one fan base is truly happy. All others are relegated to the scrap heap of hope known as “we’ll get ‘em next year.” The odds of contentment are so dramatically stacked against the fan that it’s a wonder a ticket is ever sold…a radio or television ever turned on.
Hope in sports (heck, in life) generally proves little more than a setup, yet that is precisely the masochism to which the fan subscribes. So why do we do it? Because hope is worth it.
Hope is not merely a feeling, an emotion - it’s a state of mind, an existence. It’s the promise of our parents that we can do anything to which we put our minds. It’s the improbable victory on any given game day, the miracle of the Hail Mary, the unfathomable down-to-the-last-strike walk-off blast. It’s the rags-to-riches tales and stories of second chances. It’s the accounts of all who were too small, too big, too slow, too anything to make it. Sports is still the greatest playing field for hope. It draws out the inner child in all of us, takes us to a time before we were jaded by the corrosion of hope unrewarded. Therein lies the true beauty of sports. Hope…sports…is innocence personified, and nowhere is its purity more evident than on the face of child.
Check out this great moment between the Minnesota Wild’s Charlie Coyle and a young fan:
The simplest of gestures. The innocence of sports.