I’m still somewhere over the moon over my beloved St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series. It’s such a complete surprise – not because I didn’t expect it from the team. You gotta love the chances of a team with Albert Pujols, Jim Edmunds, Scott Rolen, Chris Carpenter, and MVP David Eckstein. Especially when they’re coached by a baseball guru like Tony La Russa.
No, I’m totally surprised because of the year I’d been having – I never expected or hoped for anything good to come out of it…. I didn’t think it was capable of anything right or good. It’s just been one of those One D—… years – you know, one d— thing after another. Forgive my language – I’m not a cusser except for the most extreme of circumstances, but some years beg for it.
This one did.
So how had 2006 been treating me? My mom moved on to Heaven without asking me (guess she knew what my answer would have been), we had a few shake-ups and near melt-downs in our home businesses, we lost two beloved cats, another one went missing for nearly a week, my van decided running wasn’t in its best interest, the dryer thought that looked like a sweet idea and followed the van’s lead, then – of course – there are the crazy little things that happen on the norm. The type of things you come to expect when you have a large family.
And a year without a sense of humor.
Last night – after the pit bull incident – I figured it out. Life has simply forgotten how to be reasonable! And a quick look at the news lets me know that it isn’t just my life – it’s life in general. So if any of us look around for or long for that thing called normal, we’ll be sorely disappointed.
We’d be twice as likely to find the Easter Bunny.
I’ve been reading an amazing book by Buzz Bissinger. It’s called Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager and it’s about the guru I mentioned earlier, Tony La Russa. Kind of takes place inside his mind. It’s a great, great book and I’d say so even if I didn’t bleed St. Louis Cardinal red.
At one point, Coach La Russa is talking about his line-up. Due to a torn hamstring, the Cardinal’s gold glove winning Fernando Vina was sidelined for months. The Cards had to call up a young man named Bo Hart. He filled in and did his best – his “heart” made Hart a fan favorite. But he wasn’t Vina…. he was, well, far from it.
At the time the book was written, the Cards had an upcoming series with their rival, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies had a really strong team led by Sammy Sosa who was still at the top of his game.
La Russa knew that Vina’s absence in the line-up, and on the field, was going to hurt. Hart had no shortage of heart and determination, but he did lack Vina’s talent and experience. Which could be said of a lot of players. Vina was one of the best second basemen to ever play.
In one of the more telling paragraphs of the book, a lesson was given to all of us:
“….it’s another La Russa adage that you can’t dwell on what you don’t have and can take advantage of only what you do have, so Hart is starting and batting second.”
Spoken like a champion.
After the final game, as the celebration was taking part on screen and in our living room, I realized something pretty cool. After my dad passed away, his favorite team in the world (and one of his reasons for getting out of bed in the mornings) the UK Wildcats won the championship the following season. I got my ridiculously HUGE love for the UK Wildcats from my dad and I know he would have been crying tears of joy just as I was.
My mom loved the Cardinal’s and she knew baseball terminology inside and out – she knew all the players and had a really good idea about their averages. She also had a pretty healthy crush on Rolen. And just like my dad, her beloved team won the very first season she was in Heaven.
And just like I did with my dad, I got to thinking, “What a shame she isn’t here to see it…” – only to realize she had the best seat in the world.
Life goes on, doesn’t it? “You can’t dwell on what you don’t have… and can only take advantage of what you do have.”
Golden, Coach. Golden.