This piece started off as a reflection on Rich Hill and the roller coaster emotions experienced by all of us during his near perfect game last month. He has become such a great story to root for since he came to the Dodgers last year, and I wanted to put some thoughts on paper about how we could all learn from his resiliency.
But then as I was writing it, the Dodgers current skid began, and life kept coming at me. My father went in for surgery while a very close friend of mine continued to battle cancer, and I’d wake up daily unsuccessfully trying to imagine a world without either of them in it. Life as an adult was becoming very real.
And as we all know, the Dodgers kept losing. Games were not as fun to watch anymore, and what was once a joyous solace from the challenges of everyday life was quite the opposite.
Then, perspective. One day last week, before I’d even had the chance to sit down, have a coffee and get started on my work day, the rug was pulled out from under my feet and my job was lost. After 9 years and 3 months as a loyal employee, I became the unexpected victim of a move made necessary by the realities of a tough industry.
For anyone doubting or unaware of how deep my life is entrenched in and weaved into baseball, one of my first thoughts was of AJ Ellis and how much of a shock his departure from the team last summer after so many loyal, popular years with the organization must have been. It’s just a business at the end of the day, I thought. But it is also, at the end of the day, a disorienting shock to the system, and your first thoughts go to the relationships and memories left behind.
Like AJ, I’d been doing it so long that it never occurred to me that work was so much more than just the company who paid me every 2 weeks. I relied on my job for my routine, my structure, and quite frankly, my reason for getting out of bed before 10am on weekdays. When I was there, and when I was “on”, which was most days, there was no stopping me. I would get more done before 10am most mornings than many would seemingly get done all day, only to end up so tired at the end of the day that I would often stay behind just to muster up enough energy to take the not very long walk to my car and drive home in a fog. But it was simply what I did, as it was with him. And then we were both no longer needed.
Since this happened, I’d been having a hard time figuring out where I’m needed now, and felt no joy or comfort from my usual source – Dodger fandom. Ive decided that it’s time to re-evaluate priorities, and dust myself off like Rich Hill, the King of Resiliency, would and has.
Do we need adversity/challenges in our lives to feel a certain sense of accomplishment? I’m not saying I was getting necessarily bored in my job, or with watching the Dodgers win night after night, but now that both are temporarily gone, I feel like this is the time to start fighting back and change the conversation. Time to be strong and unite the troops. For example, I’ve had more great conversations, coffee, drinks, offers of help, from former co-workers and friends than I had in longer than I can remember. It’s one of the great ironies of life that people often only come together in times of great change and adversity, and this time as Dodgers fans should be no different.
And so, I believe that it’s also time to come together as Dodgers fans as this is when we need the positivity and support the most. The great Jody Wahl and I actually discussed at one point earlier this season how it was hard to come up with anything new to write about for Dodgers Nation because they were playing so well. We were so used to the adversity, challenges and ups and downs of being a Dodgers fan that more than anything, this season felt so foreign to us that we were simply left speechless.
Which brings me to my point. This losing streak and quality of play from our previously unbeatable boys is also a completely foreign feeling to most of us, leading to feelings of confusion, shock and loss. May I suggest to you all that this is the time of crises to come together and help each other, and most importantly, continue to support the team. This is when our commitment as fans is needed the most – in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.
And no matter what happens, remember, as I will, these words from Rich Hill after his heartbreaking defeat in Pittsburgh:
Tomorrow, you put in the work and it’s a new day. You just keep moving forward. That’s all there is.