Monday, October 09, 2006

Playoff Passion

No one can describe the anxiety I have felt over the years as a loyal New York Mets fan waiting for the year when they would finally take it all. Even this year when the team achieved the best record in the National League and is now making its way through the playoffs, always in the back of my mind are the defeats of prior times, making current developments seem more like fantasy. Is this really happening?

So perhaps, if you are a Mets fan, or even if you are not but can put yourself in my shoes, you will understand what happened to me the other night as the Mets were playing the Dodgers for the National League Division Championship.

My wife and I were having dinner in a restaurant with another couple during the game. Not being sports fans, it was hard for them to identify with me ... as I periodically –- with apologies -- accessed the internet on my Treo for scores. While the Mets jumped out to an early lead, the Dodgers tied it. I was feeling insecure ... the insecurity that has haunted me for years. Suddenly my internet access was not connecting. I asked the waiter, "Do you know the score?" He looked at me as if I had hailed from another planet. While his English was halting, I finally made him understand and soon another waiter came over, told us the score and advised that the game was on the TV in the bar.

By the time the four of us were ready to leave the Mets were winning 9-5. I stopped by the bar on the way out to see if the guys were still on top. It was the eighth inning. My wife strongly suggested that I listen to the balance of the game on the car radio during the drive home. It was now nearly 11:30 p.m. The other couple was suggesting we bid our goodbyes outside as we waited for the attendant to bring our cars. My insecurity got the best of me. It was true that the Mets had a four-run lead, but could they sustain it? What is a real fan to do in this situation? Although our friends left, I could not desert my team or settle for a mere audio version when I had the chance to SEE a potential victory and SEE the team embrace as champagne corks were popping all over the place! I prevailed. We hung out at the bar until the very sweet end. No fantasy this time. It really did happen. And we are now on to the National League Championship Series ... which I greet with composure, at least for now.

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