We were Catholics, growing up.
We were baby-blessin’, genuflectin’, sign-of-the-crossin’ Catholics, and every Sunday, my ass was parked on a wooden pew, the word of the Lord managing to sneak in my ears once in a while between counting the ceiling tiles and imagining a T. Rex bursting through the wall.
The only real payoff was the doughnuts.
It was never a sure thing. Either we’d cruise right on by the grocery store, or Dad would flip the left turn signal. It made for a rigid ride home from church, like our family mini van was gingerly motoring through a mine field in Vietnam as my sisters and I awaited for that critical event horizon of the trip.
One Sunday I was completely convinced it wasn’t going to happen.
“No way,” I swore. “They’re not in the mood.”
Dad’s snoring probably kept mom up all night. Maybe Dad realized he’d be spending the beautiful Sunday afternoon poisoning crab grass. Whatever the reason, I could see it in their eyes: Doughnuts were not part of the world today.
So imagine my surprise when the sound of the turn signal filled the car and we started the joyful roll toward the bakery. Giddy, I almost didn’t want to believe it. Could this really be happening? Had I died? Will we be eating doughnuts today?!
“They’re probably just picking up something for dinner,” I said snarkily.
“Okay,” Dad replied coolly, turned the car around, and we went home.
No dougnuts. Not pastries. No coffee rolls. Just another Sunday afternoon of homework and wishing it was Saturday.
That’s what it felt like to lose the World Series to the New York Yankees last night.
But that’s baseball. Sometimes you get closer to the doughnut than others. It’s just a matter of whose hungriest.
Were there threats to burn down Yankee Stadium leaving the bar last night? Absolutely. It’s still Philadelphia.
It’d be all too easy to be angry, or vindictive, or tell a rambling story about my childhood that loosely connects to the game.
At least we made a series out of it, at least it wasn’t a sweep, at least they didn’t lose it at home, and at least it wasn’t all hinging on a blown call by an umpire corps that has invested about as much focus on the MLB postseason as I did in church.
We played a baseball game and lost. It happens.
This, like any other one, means the same as any other: Pick yourself up, wipe off the dirt, and get ready for the next one.
Even if it is months and months away.