You have these expectations. Maybe they’re inbred. Or you are inexorably conditioned to them. As an ex-patriot Canadian, but a Canadian nonetheless, I have the recollection of believing that spring was just around the corner. And then it snowed again.
It does something to you, that perennial disappointment. It instills a “Canadian Mindset” –
An indomitable certainty of the worst.
Which, although I have now resided in a country maintaining an indomitable certainty of the best for more than forty years…
I continue to possess.
Listen to this story.
Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays held the record in all the major sports – baseball, football, hockey and lacrosse – wait that’s Indigenous People’s wishful thinking – and basketball – as being the team experiencing the longest “dry spell” without advancing to the postseason.
This season, the Jays finally got into the playoffs.
My immediate reaction?
That’s not going to last.
And it looks early on like I’m right. Toronto drops the first game at home with their best pitcher on the mound. Then the second game, also at home – which makes a difference because teams playing at home enjoy a demonstrable “Home team Advantage” (e.g.: the Blue Jays were a league-leading 53-28 at home during the regular season) – the Jays lose again, this time in 14 innings, proof, if the “Canadian Mindset” needs any – which it doesn’t – of the team’s perilous inability to “close the deal” when it really matters.
Okay. Down 2 games to 0 in a “Best-of-Five” series and we’re going to Texas. Did I mention they were playing the Texas Rangers? I probably didn’t. Because it’s doesn’t matter; the outcome will inevitably be the same. Oh, and did you notice I said “We’re going to Texas?” That was entirely spontaneous.
This is really going to hurt.
Even if it’s expected.
The next day is Sunday. (Two days ago.) I check the time for when “Game 3” is on television, and then turn to C-Span to watch a lecture delivered by a “white-collar” miscreant who spent a year in prison and wrote a book about it. I then wade through a program on how American presidents affect fashion – remember the “Eisenhower Jacket”? – awaiting the second offering of a much anticipated series on landmark cases from the Supreme Court. Which never comes on, the program apparently airing on an entirely different day, the original offering misleading me because it was broadcast the previous Sunday. And nobody warned me that that was not the show’s regular time slot. (Does this sound like an old person talking?)
Suddenly, I remember the game I switch immediately to the appropriate channel. Where I am greeted by a scene of celebrating Rangers players congratulating each other out on the field.
The game has just been completed. (I had missed it.) Texas has swept the series. (Baseball players never congratulating each other when they lose.)
Well, there you go. “Three and out.” The Blue Jays are finished. The game’s summarizing “line score” flashes on the screen. The Jays have once again been bested in fourteen innings.
Which is impressive, in a way. Losing two fourteen-inning games in a row. That shows tenacity. It shows grit.
The Jays of 2015:
Gritty but gone.
(Blue Jays loyalists are likely – make that certainly – ahead of me at this point. (Or earlier.) As are readers with more sense in their heads than I have. Although keep in mind, I am afflicted by “The Canadian Mindset.”) (And residual Legionnaires’ Disease.) (How long can I milk that one?)
I switch away from the game station. Why would I continue to watch, to see a team I don’t care about in goggles squirting champagne at each other in the clubhouse? Who beat my team that is now free to go fishing and play golf? No way!
That night, after watching a PBS offering of Whitechapel – about a Jack-the-Ripper “copycat” wreaking murderous havoc in current day East London – I switch over to the MLB (Major League Baseball) station for a report on the playoffs. My disappointment sufficiently salved by the passage of time, I am ready for a commentarial rehashing of the Blue Jays ouster from the playoffs.
And what do I discover, to my utter shock and amazement?
The Blue Jays won “Game Three.”
Why then did I believe the opposite?
The game whose congratulatory ending I had witnessed had been a replay of the fourteen-inning game in Toronto broadcast prior to beginning of “Game Three” in Texas. (Which I should have immediately realized because the Rangers congratulating each other out on the field were wearing their gray, “away” uniforms, and the field they were congratulating each other on was the Rogers Centre.)
Do you see what happened there?
Stupidity, of course. But a stupidity fueled…
by “The Canadian Mindset.” (Or “The Pomerantz Family Mindset.” Or it is just me.)
I expected them to lose so could easily imagine that they did.
When, in actuality, they won.
This gives a glimmering insight into the way things work.
It is not “Hope for the best, expect the worst” from The Twelve Chairs.
You assume the worst. And that’s it!
What happens now that there is a renewed chance of a positive outcome?
Paraphrasing Lou Grant, though considerably less artfully,
“I hate renewed chances of positive outcomes!”
There is now a possibility that they might actually win!
What am I supposed to do with that!?!
There is always the Leafs to let me down.
And the world will be right back to normal.