Monday, October 11, 2010

Optimism



Optimism is a great thing. Cynics will undoubtedly cringe at that thought; and those same people will try to tell you it's worthless to be optimistic because most of the time you'll be let down. These people are Yankees fans. Yes, Yankees fans are cynics. The team that wins more than anyone. The team that spends more than anyone. But their cynics because when you have the payroll capabilities of the Yankees, as a fan you don't get attached to many players simply because players aren't usually life-long Yankees. Derek Jeter, Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada are exceptions. I think a lot of Yanks fans still dislike Pettite for going to Houston years ago. Regardless, the point is that there's no reason to listen to these cynics.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, was, sadly and honestly, the pinnacle of my sports-watching life. I've seen my favorite NBA, NFL, NHL AND MLB team all lose one game or one round short of the finals. I've seen the Vikings do it twice. I've seen the Timberwolves trade one of the top 10 greatest players ever because they can't make it work with him. I've seen the Vikings trade one of the 2 greatest receivers ever because their meat-head coach couldn't babysit YOUR kids if he tried. I've seen the Twins trade one of the 3 greatest pitchers in the last two decades because of money. I've seen the Wild ultimately let Gaborik go, citing money and injury issues, only to go out and sign an equally injury prone but less talented player in Martin Havlat. So, yes, October 6, 2010 was the pinnacle of my relatively young sports-watching life.

The Twins were finally going to beat the Yankees, this was their year. Some idiot even predicted they'd sweep the evil empire. And our prodigal son, Randy Moss, was coming home. The Vikings were finalizing a trade that would send a 2011 third round pick for Randy Moss. It was a day of extreme joy in this state. Then Cuddyer hit a 2-run homer, Hudson scored a run the old Twins way, and trust me, everyone was drinking the kool-aid. The Twins were going to sweep. Moss was going to sign an extension, and be a star for 4 straight years. The Vikings were going to dismantle the Jets on Monday, and they were definitely going to win the Super Bowl this year. Then Jorge Posada hit a 3-2, 2-out line drive single that literally missed going in Orlando Hudson's glove by 3 inches. Granderson then tripled, the Yankees led 4-3, and just like the people of Jonestown or Dennis Green, we realized the Kool-Aid wasn't what we thought it was.

After jumping ahead 3-0, the Twins would be outscored the rest of the series 17-4. The Randy Moss hoopla continued to be all positives after his press conference, but Brett Favre's little fiasco put a damper on positive Vikings news. With a few hours to go until Monday Night Football, I could realistically see the game going any way possible. I could see Randy Moss channeling his 1998-self and going for close to 200 yards and 2 or 3 touchdowns. I could see the Vikings offense playing terribly again, scoring very little, and losing a not-so-close game. I could see AP carrying the team to another victory. And everything in between.

But I've realized life's a lot more enjoyable when you're optimistic. 'Being happy' isn't as easy as we're supposed to believe it is, and we all know this. Little things that really shouldn't bother us, sometimes do. When you're optimistic, though, I've realized those days come less and less. I can't remember the last time I was legitimately sad, which is a good thing. I wasn't sad when the Twins lost last night, or any of the past week. I'm not sure why; usually it would kill me to have to wait until March for Twins baseball, and even longer for meaningful baseball. But this time it didn't. I'm sure watching the Twins lose an amazing 12 straight post-season games has allowed my mind to grow numb when it comes to October baseball. But I like to think it's also because, it's a lot better being optimistic.

Randy Moss will be unstoppable tonight. He'll score three touchdowns, he'll catch eight balls, and he'll go for close to 175 yards. The Vikings will, for the first time all season, put everything together and dismantle the Jets. Favre will look great, AP will be running people over, and Jared Allen will do his sack dance and tell the NFL to shove it. With the Packers not only losing, but also dealing with a ton of injuries, and nobody believing the Bears are for real, the Vikings will again be showered with mostly positive press except for when Tedy Bruschi talks. Or the Favre investigation is finished.

That's optimism. And while cynics will likely be right, that there's no way this is going to happen and I'm just going to be let down in 9 hours when the game's over, the fact that most Yankees fans are cynics and most Twins/Vikings fans are optimists, is further proof that sport Gods don't exist. Because if they did, there's no way the cynical fan base would have the winningest team in baseball history, while the optimistic one would have the SuperBowl-less Vikings or the CantWinAPlayoffGame Twins.

Skol Vikes, because it's Superbowl or bust, homeboy.