As such, I did not relish the collapse of the Mets last week, finding it more tragic than anything else. And readers who note the end of the regular season will surely appreciate Verlyn Klinkenborg's elegy on the Mets on today's Times editorial page. In fact, his subject is not just this particular fall from grace, but "sporting grief" more generally, a sensation that many of us who write on this blog have experienced.
Sweet it may not be, but there’s a lot to be said for sporting grief, especially the long-season variety. The suffering is collective, no matter how personal the sadness may feel. This year’s collapse of the Mets is equaled — to the extent that baseball ever equals golf — by Greg Norman’s self-destruction at the 1996 Masters. But Norman fell to pieces in a couple of hours, not a couple of weeks, and the loss was utterly personal. It was shattering to watch, but it was less likely to make you weep than to make you brood about hubris and mortality.Personally, I think back to the ALCS in 2004. Klinkenborg concludes the piece beautifully:
So the world is a complicated place, and in our own lives — if you allow yourself to love or hope at all — we are going to have real chances to grieve for things that will make this loss feel like nothing.
But right now it feels like something. Life’s true griefs will eventually make you tougher, more understanding, more tolerant, more compassionate. If you let them, they’ll teach the proportions of human happiness. Perhaps that’s the real beauty of sporting grief, even after a season like the Mets just had. It doesn’t ask you to grow as a human being.