It was just over two and a half weeks ago that I wrote on this blog that December 29th, 2002 was the greatest day of my life. That was the day that the Browns beat the Falcons to get into the playoffs. I wrote that I was unashamed that a sporting event can provide as much or more joy than a real event that actually happened to me. I have graduated twice, been in several great relationships, and have had successes of my own athletically, but I was completely convinced that a sporting event, A REGULAR SEASON SPORTING EVENT, could be and was the greatest day of my adult life.
Five days after I made that post, I experienced what was unequivocally the worst day of my adult life. It put things in perspective. In case you didn’t notice, I didn’t make a post for almost two weeks. The reason is because on Thursday, December 27th, I lost two grandparents. Two completely unrelated illnesses brought upon two people only related by marriage, and they had to hit on the same day. To lose two people who are that close to you, a mere fourteen hours apart, is an unlikely tragedy that few can even comprehend.
Ironically, this day occurred three days before the third gigantic Cleveland Sports heartbreak of the year, the Browns elimination from postseason contention. Two weeks ago, I would have told you that nothing would be as bad as a ten win playoff miss. Two weeks ago I would have told you that a Browns loss to the Bengals would be a heartbreak only trumped by games 5, 6 and 7 of the ALCS. Now here I am trying to cope with the loss of two of the most formative figures of my life, and I’m supposed to “put the rest in perspective” and remember that it’s just a game.
I couldn’t help but think that I believed that 5 years earlier was the best day of my life because the Browns beat the Falcons, now I have to acknowledge the dichotomy between the best and the worst. A football victory and the death of two family members.
But guess what???
I realized something in all this. That Titans/Colts game still drove me nuts. I still had trouble sleeping that night knowing that the season was over. And eight days later, Les Miles' undressing of Jim Tressell made me fucking crazy. I still don’t want to think about late October, and the fact that I have to watch the NFL playoffs without who I believe would be one of the top 6 teams left is absolutely getting the best of me.
So…I put things in perspective. I buried two grandparents, and will always believe that Dec 27th 2007 was the worst day of my life. But does that mean that sports don’t matter? Does that mean that December 29, 2002 can’t be the best day of my life?
I ask you this, what was worse, your absolute worst breakup – the one that got away, or watching Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youklis and Josh Beckett dance all over Fenway in Game 7?
What was worse, the day you lost your best job, the day you got a DUI, the time you lost a ton of money, or realizing that the last 5 months of emotional investment and reallocation of Brown and Orange hope was tossed out the window by a guy named Jim Sorgi?
These questions are easy for me. I have braved the worst day of my life, and I have “put things in perspective” and I am still not ashamed. Next New Years, when I’m back in Cleveland for two stone settings, remembering the pain and misery that was last year, I will feel A LOT more comfortable if I’m also home for a home playoff game. Against Pittsburgh, in the cold, and in the snow.
And if we win that day, I guess I’ll need to make a new adjustment to “the best day of my life”
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