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Idol Chatter

In Michigan our sports culture is typically focused on the Red Wings, the Pistons, and Big Ten football. Rarely is our attention centered on our hapless excuse of a baseball team, the Detroit Tigers. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly found myself rearranging my television viewing schedule last week so I could enjoy watching those underdog Detroit Tigers roar into the World Series after dominating both the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics.

But my enthusiasm for the Tigers’ success is not rooted simply in the desire to see my home state represented in the news is a good way. Their impressive performance against both opponents reminded me of one of the reasons we revere sports in this country. I think that sometimes the victories and losses of a team we watch or support over the years matter to us perhaps more than they should because they serve as symbolic yet tangible benchmark of our own personal growth.

I say this because I am anything but a baseball fan, yet I don’t need any sports announcer to tell me how many years it’s been since the Tigers last appeared in the World Series. I remember because 22 years and two weeks ago I was a kid lying in a hospital bed after being in a serious car accident that changed my life permanently. And one of the more vivid memories I have from that time is the image of my family and friends sitting at my bedside watching the Tigers on television as a form of distraction in the midst of a bleak situation. The prognosis for a Tiger victory heading into the championship was excellent, while my own prognosis was a little less optimistic. Thankfully, the Tigers and I were both up to our separate challenges, and we both emerged victorious.

Normally, I wouldn’t share such a personal anecdote here on this blog, but I have enjoyed using this World series competition to reflect on the progress I have made over the last two decades. Like the Tigers, I have had years where I have experienced far more losses than victories. I have also been underestimated by my peers, only to have the last word. And I have learned that no matter how bleak circumstances may appear, there is a time and a season for everything. You just have to have a little faith.

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