‘For Love of the Game’: Winning, losing, baseball, that silly game, and writer’s block

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‘You win sometimes, you lose sometimes; sometimes it rains and, sometimes, it pours. And then, sometimes you win BIG. Even when you least expect it.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking.

Granted this is baseball playoffs season, and my favorite team, The Detroit Tigers won their Central Division, went off to New York for the American League playoff series first two games with the New York Yankees, before coming home to Detroit for the next two games, only to have to go back to New York for the fifth game to determine which team would advance to the American League championship series against Texas. Did I get that right?

Still, it’s not what you’re thinking.

I got so wound up this summer, following the Tigers after having been to Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, FL this past March to watch spring training for the first time.  Max Scherzer was pitching the day we were there. And Jose Valverde, as I recall. Who knew, at that point, that by the end of the summer the Tigers would get this far? Or that I’d be watching those two pitchers on that last game-saving night.

Tiger pitcher Max Sherzer at March 8, 2011 Spring Training game, Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, FL

Nope, not what you’re thinking.

Baseball is a highlight of the summer around our house.  It‘s a sport my husband and I can both enjoy.  We spent countless hours this year, keeping tabs on our Tigers.  But, for love of the game?  I’m not talkin’ baseball, I’m talkin’ that favorite Michigan/Florida sport (is playing cards a sport?) of Hand and Foot.

Yes, if card playing can be a sport, then, playing Hand and Foot must be considered a marathon. For most of baseball season, my father-in-law is back in Michigan for the summer and whenever we see him, the order of the day is the required game of Hand and Foot. Being with us and playing this game, is something he craves, to the point that we now succumb willingly to his advances. We play. Sometimes singly and when anyone else is around, we play partners.

I’ve had winning and losing on my mind a lot this summer. Tigers’ wins and losses continually kept me on edge, always anticipating the next game. Same with Hand and Foot.  Which of us would win, lose? Which team would go down crying? Oh, that’s right. “There’s no crying in baseball” — or hand and foot.

Contending with the emotional ups and downs of this card game, which I always reluctantly joined in on when my mother-in-law was still with us — more like “Yes, you will play this game.” — was hard on me at the time. I couldn’t understand their passion for this, what I thought was a silly game.

Now, I go along with it, knowing how much it means to my husband’s dad. Watching our two kids grow up playing it with their grandparents, and having it become one of their traditions, adds an extra incentive. Then, of course, I wised up. Eventually, I would learn that playing cards is good for you.  Eventually, I’d grow to love this game because of all of the above.

Eventually, I’d look forward to playing Hand and Foot with dad, as much as I enjoyed watching the Tigers all summer long. The emotional roller coaster of winning and losing at cards doesn’t seem so personal now. Ironically, now that I’ve gotten into the spirit of the game, I find that I’m winning when I least expect it. And losing doesn’t bother me so much.  At cards, that is.

Tigers’ games? That’s another matter. I’ve also discovered that their losing bothered me much more than I thought it would. I found that I had a low tolerance level for witnessing them suffer during some games. The division playoffs rollercoaster drove me crazy.  How did I allow myself to have such an emotional investment in this ball team?

If it’s really for love of the game, then winning or losing shouldn’t matter — whether it’s baseball or cards. At the outset of the final fifth game on Oct. 6, when it looked once again like the Yankees would outscore the Tigers in the end, as they ‘d done the previous game, I took consolation in the words of Tigers Manager Jim Leyland.

I’d just told my husband, “It is what it is,” – laughing about it being the favorite comment of a close friend of ours, and which I catch myself often repeating. A short time later, Leyland — in a press interview —  said, “It is what it is.” I figured if he could say that, I’d be OK – win or lose the series. Go on to play the Texas Rangers or go back home. And, I would get back to my writing.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Unless you want to say that for love of the game, a writer got way off track on her projects, and all September found herself suffering from writer’s block. Of course, no one can believe that I’d have writer’s block.

But, now that they’ve won their American League title and are off to the AL championships, what am I  to do? The Tigers this summer have become like family to many of us Michiganders. Can’t stop watching now. I’ll be glued to the TV.

We’ll see what happens…for love of the game. No more Hand and Foot – my father-in-law has gone back to Florida.  The Tigers have won again.  Games are on.  Hmmmm….can I still blame my writer’s block on baseball?

We could win; we could lose; it could rain.  We could win BIG when we least expect it. As my friend Mary says — and Jim Leyland — “It is what it is.”  I can live with that.


For Love of the Game links:

Detroit News  MLB Detroit Tigers News

Detroit News: Tigers denied by Grand theft

Detroit News: ‘Martinez, Peralta and Cabrera power Tigers back into ALCS’

Detroit News: ‘Wounded Tigers could show fight’

Detroit News: ‘ Tigers’ crushing loss is tale of two bullpens’

Detroit News: ‘Justin Verlander, Tigers show true grit’

Detroit News: ‘Tiger  ace Justin Verlander sets career high in pitches’

Detroite News: ‘Tigers’ World Series hopes crash, burn in one inning

Detroit News: ‘For Once, bruised and battered tigers had nothing left’

Detroit News: ‘Tigers pleased with 2011, but they’re not content’

Detroit News: ‘Despite loss, Jim Leyland couldn’t be more proud of Tigers’

Detroit News: ‘Before next season, there’s award season for Tigers ace Justin Verlander’

Detroit News: Photo Gallery Detroit Tigers 2011

Detroit News: Justin Verlander Looks to Future







About Susan Parcheta 102 Articles
Susan G Parcheta dreamed of being an inspirational writer, even as heading off after college to a teaching job. While teaching was not her passion, words were -- writing many years for Livingston newspapers, especially in the areas of education, health and wellness. The dream continues: to inspire creative, healthy living and to explore new concepts of body, mind, spirit. Her signature theme “All Things Beautiful” invites you to embrace the beauty and imagine the possibilities that life has to offer. She lives in Gregory with her husband, Jerry, and their fluffy, pointy-eared -- and always lovable -- cat, Spock.