Sunday, May 09, 2010

Enjoy this win as Siddhattha Gotama would

The Red Sox salvaged a game in what could have been a grotesque and season crushing sweep.

The blog boards and articles in news papers all were filled with abject panic. The New York Times gleefully wrote about the lack of identity of the Red Sox and their fans.

I get an e mail an hour asking me "is this Red Sox team any good?"

I can break down pitching stats and hitting stats. I can look at the schedule and who is on the farm. I can rattle off batting average, OPS, VORP, ERA and fielding percentage.

But I won't.
Instead I will relay an episode involving Siddhattha Gotama, aka The Enlightened One, aka The Supreme Buddha.

Early in his path to enlightenment, Siddhattha left his opulent life as a prince to experience intense pain and suffering as a monk.

He fasted, beat himself, wouldn't bathe, wouldn't cut his hair and wouldn't speak. He literally went from a life of luxury and ease to a self imposed forbidding of any pleasures. And yet he still found himself unfulfilled.

Then one day he overheard a sitar teacher walking by talking to his student. The teacher said "if you wind the string too tight it will break and if you have the string too loose, there will be no music".

After hearing those words, Siddartha realized the middle way of life - it didn't have to be free of worries but it also didn't have to be without joy.

Then he sat under that tree and reached peace and enlightenment.

(And yes, Sidd Finch was named after Siddartha.)

And that's what we Red Sox fans need to do... find that middle way.

We can't have the arrogance that a playoff birth is a given and also not to panic and torture ourselves after a losing streak.

This may not be 2004 or 2007, but it isn't 1987 either when they went from a strike away from winning it all to having a losing season the next year.

There are 130 games to go... and this Red Sox team has won as many as they lost, so they truly are in the middle way.

I am not saying don't be passionate about the team and cheer them on. By all means, that's what we SHOULD be doing.

But the loathing and suffering and panic aren't getting us anywhere as a fan base.

If I went back to that moment when Mariano Rivera was facing the bottom of the lineup, a mere 3 outs from sweeping the Sox in 2004 and I told you that the Red Sox would not only come back and win the ALCS and the World Series... but win another World Series a few years later and play in a thrilling 7 game ALCS in 2008... we'd all take it and probably say "They could stink for the next 10 years after that."

Find that mentality again.
This year isn't over, but even if it doesn't end in a World Series title, remember it wasn't THAT long ago that we thought of that as a once in a lifetime possibility... not an annual given.

Find the middle way, Sox fans. It will make this year much more enjoyable.

Look at these two faces: Who is having the better day?

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  1. The Buddha's only smiling because he won big on that last Sharks/Red Wings game...

  2. Nice take! O.K., now read Hesse's novel, Siddhartha.

    Om m m m m m m.

  3. One of the funadmaental tracings of Buddhism is the non or impermanence of all conditions and beings.

    If sox fans had embraced Buddhism long ago much suffering would have been avoided as the Yankees would inevitably fall and much as the worm can rise to be a god the god will most certainly fall.

    It is this cycle of return that buddah escaped by going to nirvana. Much as I was destined to be born a giants fan and watch an earthquake and then jt snow trying to run fast crush my hopes, I await with solemn yet concern for the universe to bring order to this.

    Jordan wex

  4. Cousin Bill6:37 PM

    Paul. Brilliant.

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