WARNING: Harsh realities ahead.
SPOILER ALERT: Stick around. Silver linings are also ahead.
Only one city gets to celebrate at the end of a season. Twenty-nine others will be disappointed, jaded, heartbroken. San Francisco is used to victory. Kansas City is used to defeat.
So why does this hurt so much after nearly three decades of disappointment? Because we had a chance. And not just any kind of chance. Kansas City had a chance out of nowhere. No one expected this team to get to the World Series, let alone survive through Game 7. The bullied kids were admitted to the cool crowd, only to be bullied again once accepted. A cruel joke.
Life can be cruel.
Winning isn’t nearly as fun when expected, and losing doesn’t hurt nearly as much when you receive a taste of glory. We should have seen this coming.
October has been nothing short of a fairytale. In life, fairytales do not exist. The universe has a way of balancing itself out and making sure order is not disrupted. More cancer patients will die than will overcome. The alpha male will get the supermodel. Cinderella teams will fall short of a championship.
Life is not fair.
The Royals will win the World Series someday and probably in the near future, but they won’t – can’t – win it in a way fit for a movie.
That’s not how life works.
No. They will have to slowly turn themselves into the alpha male. They will make regular trips to the playoffs and eventually win it all as a team that is expected to be champions. Champions are not made overnight, and that is exactly what the Royals tried to achieve: overnight success in a world that only rewards those with a track record. The Royals almost defied the order of things, but in the end, order is restored.
Life is unforgiving.
Despite a loss that we all should have seen coming or at least been fully prepared for (and the devastation it brought forth), the Royals brought more joy and positivity in the end. An entire city bonded because of a baseball team. Underdogs across the nation were inspired because of a baseball team. Baseball itself had it batteries recharged for a new generation of sports fans because of the Kansas City Royals. My girlfriend who loves The Aquabats and dubstep discovered the joy (and misery) of sports and now owns Royals gear and has a favorite player (even if it’s because his name is the same as a Mortal Kombat character)!
Life is full of surprises.
An epic win from left field (pun!) would have been substantially sweeter than a championship earned after grinding through a few years of consistent playoff appearances with the expectation – not the unlikelihood – of a World Series win. Unfortunately, that is not how life works. Whether it’s business, music, school or sports, success is a long process that is rarely acquired out of the blue. This young team just graduated from high school with honors and has now been accepted to an Ivy League school. Once college is over they’ll grind their way through a prestigious job, experiencing a mix of successes and failures, but mostly success. Eventually, they will become The Man. It doesn’t happen overnight. Young Royals fans learned that after Game 7.
Life is full of lessons.
David did not beat Goliath, but he got damn close. Closer than he should had. This loss should not signify the might of those in power. Rather, Hosmer, Cain, Gordon, Butler, Perez, Moustakas, Shields, Ventura, Yost and the rest have indicated that the low man on the totem pole can reach the top. Impossibilities are possible. Dreams can become realities. Despair can turn into hope.
Life is unpredictable.
I bonded with my father more than ever because of the 2014 Royals. I talked to, high-fived and engaged with complete strangers because of the 2014 Royals. I amplified my pride and love for my city and team because of the 2014 Royals. I lived an insanely unhealthy lifestyle consisting of booze, good food and no sleep for the entire month of October because of the 2014 Royals!
Like Dante in “Clerks,” we weren’t supposed to be here. But we are, and we are not going away. This wasn’t a terrible end. Instead, it was an odd beginning to a bright, wonderful future that was preceded by 29 years of misery. Ladies and gents, the Kansas City Royals are back! The laughter across the world has turned into dropped jaws. The drought is being overcome by a river of success, pride and smiles.
*clap, clap, clap clap clap* LET’S GO ROYALS!
Life is great.