Sports

This Election Feels Just Like A Game 7 Loss For Sports Fans

by Jon Baum

November 10, 2016
Hillary Clinton supporters (left) and New York Yankees fans circa 2004 (right) both felt shock. (Photos via Getty Images)

I hate the Boston Red Sox.

Like, a lot.

So much so that it takes a Herculean effort of will not to automatically swipe left on an otherwise seemingly lovely woman who happens to be wearing a Sox hat in one of her profile pics. We’re from two separate worlds—it would never work.

Twelve years ago, the Red Sox finally bested the Curse of the Babe, winning their first World Series since 1918. On their way to that 2004 World Series, Boston came back from a three-games-to-none deficit to win the American League Championship Series. Coming back from 3-0 to win a series literally had never been done in Major League Baseball history.

And the team they did it against? My beloved New York Yankees.

How I felt after the Yanks blew that lead and lost the series, combined with the feeling once the Sox went on to sweep the World Series and accomplish something I truly believed might never happen during my lifetime—that’s sort of how I feel today on the heels of Donald Trump’s election victory.

Clearly the impact pales in comparison; we’re talking about a national election with immensely significant societal, legislative, and judicial ramifications—not a baseball game. But as someone who experiences some of my deepest feels through sports, the dumbfounded shock I experienced then is comparable to what I face now.

Back in 2004, after suffering through the boasts and taunts of insufferable Red Sox fans, all I could do was say, “Congrats. Well done.” They won. They deserved it. I wasn’t happy about it, but good for them. And their fans? These are my friends. Having grown up in Eastern Connecticut, these are a lot of my friends.

For those of us who played youth sports and high school or college ball, it’s the “good game, good game, nice game, good game” high-fives with the opposing team after a tough loss—though there was always the one kid I conveniently forgot to high-five because he had been an asshole during the game.

Again, these are just games.

But they still hurt. For die-hard sports fans, tough losses always hurt. Sometimes they feel soul-crushing.

That’s what this election feels like.

So what’s next? For the Yankees, you retool the roster and look forward to spring training. For little league pitchers, you go home, have a grilled cheese, do your homework, and work on your pitch location.

For Hillary Clinton supporters, it’s much the same. You examine what went wrong Tuesday, how you managed not to connect to such a huge portion of the population—your fellow citizens, whose anger with government isn’t trivial—and what needs to be done locally and nationally to help you more effectively advocate for the issues most important to you.

In other words, you retool, take care of yourself, do your homework, and practice for next time.

But for today, as the other side celebrates, all there is to do as you try to maintain your sanity is say, “Congrats. Well done. Good game.”

But you can skip the high-five.

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