“It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the HOPE!”
– John Cleese, “Clockwise”
Oh, my Colorado Rockies. You do know how to break our hearts, don’t you?
We go through an entire offseason remembering how bad things have been. We grumble at an ownership that sees .500 as a lofty aspiration – even while we know in our heart of hearts that that’s absolutely right.
And then you do it. You go out and win your first two games against a team that played for the National League pennant last year. Not just lucky squeakers, but actual, solid wins.
What’s a fan supposed to do?
I admit it. On Friday night, I was singing a certain score to the tune of “Cleveland Rocks”: “4-1 ROX! 4-1 ROX! 4-1 ROX! 4-1 ROX!”
“Don’t fall for the ‘opening days’ of hope,” a friend advised on Facebook. Cynical, but basically sound. Smart, even. After all, the Rockies are past masters of April Love: a beautiful opening month followed by a loud ker-SPLAT.
I pondered it. Considered it. And then rejected it.
“I refuse to let the present be poisoned by the future,” I wrote back. “Especially when it’s this much fun.”
We’re often advised to follow the classic Mel Brooks proverb: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.” It’s good advice. Aspirations should always be high, plans should always account for challenges and disruptions. But somewhere along the line, a lot of us lost the first half of that saying.
It’s so easy to forget how to hope.
Mind you, I’m not talking about tolerating abuse or a dangerous situation. I’m not even talking about waiting for things to magically get better instead of backing up your dreams with action (something the Rockies ownership has been accused of on multiple occasions). As I’ve said before, hope is optimism plus sweat.
This is something simpler. When you have a good thing, even for a moment, why not allow yourself to enjoy it? Even if it’s likely not to last?
Maybe especially then. That’s when it becomes all the more valuable.
It’s easy to get grim. Heaven knows the world gives us enough reason. Sometimes it inspires a drive to sally forth and make things better. Often it just inspires exhaustion from trying to survive one more day.
But when it inspires nothing but despair … that’s when it gets deadly. Because despair is inertia. it allows no joy, no effort, no hope. It expects nothing and then immediately fulfills its own prophecy.
I’m not making light of it. I get it. There are days that crush me under their weight. In a perverse way, I suppose that’s why I reach for joy when I can. It’s a way to take even one step forward, even if it’s at a limp.
And when a moment gives light – even something as trivial as a baseball game – I hold it close. Because we need all the light we can get.
By the time this appears in the paper, the Rockies may have fallen back down to Earth … or still be soaring. Either way, we had the moment, however long it lasted. And that’s something.
So have at it, my Men in Purple. Break my heart one more time.
At least for today, you’ve made it beat a little faster.