Baseball is back! Being a large fan of the national pastime, I am quite happy at this time of year. (It has been a bit cold, though. Stadiums can be windy. It’s unfortunate.) My beloved New York Metropolitans got off to quite the start this year. Very exciting. Although the last week or so has been… less delightful.
After getting off to the best start in team history and jumping out to the best record in baseball, the Mets have come back down to earth. They lost both of their catchers to injury and the bullpen is reverting to form. I suppose it was inevitable. It’s a long season.
I go into Spring Training every year expecting the Mets to win the World Series. I’m a sucker optimistic that way. I have hope because baseball is an inherently hopeful game. There is no clock. Even down by ten runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, your team still has a chance to come back. It’s never actually over until that final out is recorded. Maybe that’s why I never give up on my team. I wish I was that resilient when it comes to exercise.
I have struggled often with that habit. I start a regimen with the best of intentions. Then, inevitably, I wake up one morning feeling hurt, sick, or just too tired to get up and put in the work. After missing a few workouts in a row, I throw in the proverbial (and, I guess, literal) towel. “I’ve blown my schedule. No sense trying to continue.” It’s a fatalistic attitude.
On the bright side, I never give up entirely. After a few months, I will invariably try again. Even though I suspect the result will be the same, I always hope that I’ll be able to change the outcome. That this time will be different. If I keep getting on that horse, eventually I’ll learn how to ride.
My daughter is seven. She gets frustrated very easily and wants to give up. I’m trying to teach that out of her. It’s okay to get frustrated, of course. But I’m stubborn. I hate to give up. I try to take a long view of things, and I figure if I keep on plugging at something, it will happen eventually. I believe it.
It’s the viewpoint I try to take about being a good Catholic. I’m not a perfect Catholic. There is no such thing. We’re all flawed human beings, after all. But I keep trying. God wants us to keep trying. Scripture tells us that we are never completely alienated from God. There is always a road back.
Did you spend Lent eating meat on Fridays and sinning as often as you could get away with it? Well, first off, don’t do that anymore. It’s something to work on. But more importantly, that doesn’t matter. A good Catholic is not someone who always succeeds. A good Catholic is someone who always tries. God wants you back. No matter what you do or how you stumble, you can always come back. God is literally the eternal optimist.
As for myself, I have a hockey tournament this weekend. I’ve played in this tournament twice before, and I have yet to win a game. Saturday I’m going all the way. I need something to tide me over, after all. The Mets’ World Series win isn’t until October. Until next month…