Work has been overwhelming of late, and I have been ignoring my blog and my friends. Sorry about that.
I have been following baseball more closely this summer than I have recently--its my lunch hour obsession. In addition to maintaining a fantasy team, I've been reading up on some of the new statistical analysis over at Baseball Prospectus. I find it really interesting stuff--and indicative of how complexity theory complicates traditional methods of assessment, but I'll save those posts for another day.
Today, I just wanted to share an email I sent to a former student and Cub fan. I had earlier expressed my empathy for the Cubs slow start this season, to which he responded that it was nothing new, and that losing builds "character." My response:
To think this word "character" a bit differently-- as a Red Sox fan, it is striking to me how much their World Series victory rocked Red Sox nation. Of course there was jubilation, but there was also a profound sense of loss, I think. And the second victory only punctuated that sense. At a psychologically unconscious level, I think winning the WS was quite disturbing for Sox fans since it robbed us of our identity, our character, our way of relating to the world.
Eventually, I firmly believe, the Cubs will win. They have grown into one of baseball's exclusive "large market" teams, providing them with a considerable financial advantage. As with the Red Sox, this will translate into a World Series victory. It will likely take a figure of Curt Schilling's stature--a leadership personality who commands the locker room, in the face of all that losing tradition, to envision and capture victory. Someone needs to wack a figurative bloody sock upside the billy goat's face, and the Cub's just don't have that guy--especially not when their best player can't keep his cool. But in the ESPN era, money does tend to translate into success (though sustaining success is a different matter).
So, to conjure up a quote that just doesn't mean to me what it used to, "keep the faith."
I might use this example later this summer--I am teaching a section of Introductory Composition and plan on using Jim Corder's "Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love." Losing the narrative of the "lovable losers" has been difficult for me--and I think traces of this difficulty can be read across Red Sox nation. All I can say is that, while I still watch baseball, something isn't there anymore, the experience feels uncanny, and I believe, in that moment, I am experiencing the withdrawal of what I thought was myself, so that, what is really missing is the me I thought myself to be.