“Yeah, when we lost the pennant in ’87.”
-For Love of the Game
Baseball is a game of failure. “Successful” hitters fail seven out of 10 times and more games in this sport appear to be lost rather than won.
Still, knowing about failure in baseball does not make it any easier.
I feel this movie quote captures the mood and bitter taste left in the mouths of the 2012 Swift Current Indians.
Have you ever had that one person or one thing in your life that continuously breaks your heart?
They insist on ripping your heart out, stepping on it, all while you return year after year. You continue to expose yourself to stress and anxiety. You keep volunteering your emotions to a game of constant failure, to a game where so much is beyond your sphere of influence. Your attachment and willingness to continue can be considered crazy, illogical, and outlandish. For me, words like ‘absurdity’ and ‘turbulent relations’ seem to encapsulate my feelings regarding the game of baseball.
We, as players and coaches, renew our relationship year after year with the game of baseball. We willingly enter into this marriage with the game, devoting hours of our time each day despite its reputation and past experiences of crushing our hopes and dreams.
Our attachment to a game that can torture us is ridiculous and most likely inexplicable. Why we put up with the beating that baseball has been known to attack us with can be difficult to comprehend at times. Despite all the heartbreak, we, players and coaches, still love the game of baseball and everything that goes with it (except batting practice). This summer has provided all of us with awesome memories ranging from walk-off wins and bases-loaded bunt base hits to overheated buses and Tyler Dunsmore insisting on getting his picture taken with Ronald McDonald in Lloydminster.
The best and worst part of competitive sports is that come next year, everyone will be 0-0. Despite the past year of triumph or first-round playoff exit, everyone becomes statistical equal and must begin a new journey next summer.
With the Indians closing the book on the 2012 season, I would like to thank all those who came out and supported us even when we were awful at the beginning of the year. There are too many names to list here but the work that is done behind the scenes to put forth the best team possible on Mitchell Field is simply unbelievable. I have thoroughly enjoyed these past two summers playing baseball in Swift Current and having the pleasure of meeting so many great Saskatchewanians. As I head back home to Nova Scotia, I will always remember Swift Current, Saskatchewan as a place where life makes sense and baseball is as unpredictable and enjoyable as ever.
(Alex Tufts is a pitcher with Swift Current Indians of the Western Major Baseball League. His column appeared every week during baseball season. Prairie Post thanks him for the informative and entertaining insights. )