October 2009

Pain…

Has anybody ever accurately described what pain is?

How things hurt. Where they hurt, and for God’s sake what’s the point of pain anyway?

When it’s our pain we try to get all descriptive and articulate– to describe the feeling in as much gruesome detail so that whoever we’re speaking with knows exactly how much it hurts.

I feel like my head is going to explode!

It’s like someone’s got a knife in my back

I feel like somebody just kicked me in the stomach.

Is it a dull pain, a sharp pain or an ache?

The explanation of your pain never actually matches what you’re feeling. How could it? How could anybody else really know how bad it hurts?

Dodger fans know.

Some pain, you know is coming. There’s that split second right after you cut the corner too closely around the coffee table and whack your shin on it where you literally have time to think to yourself, “whoa, this is gonna hurt!” And it does.

While speaking in tongues in between syllables of other words, you check for blood.

What about the pain you don’t see coming. What if it actually starts to hurt before you drop the brick on your foot?

What if the second you realize that there is no describing how bad you’re about to feel happens while you’re happy, confident and smiling — almost euphoric?

That’s how I felt the instant the ball left Jimmy Rollins’ bat headed for the only place in the stadium where it could hurt the worst.

Even though it would take nearly 10 seconds for Carlos Ruiz to score the winning run all the way from first base, the disbelief had set in already and my knees were buckling.

I quickly got that butterfly feeling in my stomach– the same freight that I feel when somebody jumps out from behind a door to scare me, or if I know I just got caught doing something wrong.

I had already eaten too many cookies after dinner and I could feel them rising to the back of my throat even before Ruiz reached third base.

I had to lean up against a retaining wall in the stands down the third base line partly for support and partly for my own protection from the mayhem of Phillie fans dressed in red all around me.

Just seconds earlier I had felt fat and happy, content and sure.

I shot a quick look at the only other Dodger fan anywhere in my area and he had the same dumb look on his face as the one on mine— no words spoken.

The place was going absolutely nuts, white towels waving, high 5’s slapping, strangers jumping up and down, hugging.

I couldn’t hear a thing. I suddenly realized how cold it was.

How long did it take for that ball to stop rolling?

With one of the fastest men in baseball, Matt Kemp, helplessly trying to chase it down. When did the ache start for him? As a player he believes that somehow he can do something super-human… maybe slow everything down just enough to change what the rest of us already know is going to happen?

We actually hurt before he did.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking we are taking it worse than Kemp is. Or Broxton. Or anybody else that pulls on that Dodger uniform.

This game was their passion long before it was ours.

We throw our love and devotion behind these guys. We buy the tickets and the jersey’s with Ethier’s name on the back and rush home to listen to Vin.

Sometimes we even go so far as to think we could manage better than Joe or make better trades than Ned. Sure we would have thrown a slider instead of the fastball to that guy in the 5Th inning of last nights game…

We live an die with them all summer long, dreaming about play-off magic and all the glory that goes along with it— and almost never think about how the losers feel.

But we will never LIVE it like they do.

So now the Dodgers are at the point of the most overused cliche’ in all of sport. A “must win game”. In fact, they have the ultimate “must win” situation. They’ll have to do it three games in a row in order to taste any of that glory.

Game 4 taught us all a little something about pain.

I guess I like mine better when there’s blood.

— Steve Lyons