MURPHY'S LAW

By Patrick Murphy

You can tell it’s baseball season because I’m grumpy.

I have said it so many times, and I’m reminded of it again: Sports is the most unimportant, important part of our lives.

Our emotions swing on every play, every game, every win and every loss.

As I sit and write, my team, the Oakland A’s, are 1-7 to start the baseball season.

Never would have imagined that. Probably would have bet they had a better chance to start 7-1. Would have lost money.

Sports does not change the world, but it makes a huge difference to our world.

Wins and loses, great plays and mistakes stir emotions in us like few things do.

Our moods swing on the pendulum controlled by the performance of people most of us will never meet, know little about and mostly watch on TV.

I love sports, but I do not enjoy the feeling of being emotionally frustrated by becoming invested in teams I call “Mine.”

Which brings me back to the start of this year’s baseball season, and the dissolution losing brings.

I like to refer to these periods I go through as being “emotionally punch drunk.”

Boxing fans are familiar with the term “punch drunk.” It means a boxer has been hit so many times he can no longer feel the pain.

That’s the way I get emotionally when “my” team’s lose a lot.

The pain of losing does not hurt as much when it happens over and over again.

The A’s lost six straight to open the season, and have the worst record in baseball, and I don’t really feel it anymore.

They would have to win six straight - no easy task for any team - just to even their record at 7-7.

I do not see any kind of winning streak, let alone six in a row, coming anytime soon.

I could go on and on about what has gone wrong so far in this season, but I’ll save that for Twitter and my fellow suffering A’s fans.

And that is what I mean about sports.

Whether the A’s win or lose has no effect on the greater good. Mankind is not better off, the world will not be changed, and by and large most people won’t even notice whether they start winning or pile up more losses.

The only people it really impacts are those of us who have invested too many dollars, too much time and way too much of our emotional well-being on this team.

I have never been to a game in Oakland, and have only seen them play a few times in visiting ballparks, yet this is the team I hitched my emotional wagon to when I was a kid, and they were winning world series titles regularly.

I have survived great teams with disappointing finishes and horrible teams with no hope in sight, and I will survive this year, too.

That’s what sports fans do, we endure the bad times, and rebound to root again no matter how much it hurts.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.