It took 81 games, but they did it. Rewind 6 months and you’ll find so much optimism for what was to come, yet so much doubt for the present moment. Very few truly believed it would happen, but it’s safe to say we all saw hope for the future in those kids. Heck, there was often very little reason to believe, but would you look at that — the Toronto Maple Leafs made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. 2012-2013 doesn’t count. You know what’s up, true fans.
An 82-game season is most definitely a journey. 6 months of gritty training, travel, and competition. Injuries, illness, and the swings of life weigh on the players as they fight towards one common goal — the championship. The experiences of mountain highs and valley lows as individual players burned up or burned out. Bone-chilling emotional waves splashing against team morale as they experienced seemingly relentless losing streaks. At many times, it did indeed seem pretty much hopeless. Yet, here they are.
What would have happened had they looked at their win/loss record one month in and thought “You know what? We just lost 7 of 9 games. It’s over.” What would have happened if they looked at their record 40 games in? What would’ve happened had they listened to the negative reports by the media and decided to believe them? What would’ve happened if they had stopped giving their all each and every game? They wouldn’t be in the playoffs — that’s for sure — and they wouldn’t have the chance to achieve their goal.
The sporting world of 2016-2017 has taught me a lot recently. The New England Patriots made history by overcoming a 25-point deficit in the Super Bowl. The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame the “unstoppable” and history making Golden State Warriors when they were down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series . The seemingly cursed Chicago Cubs also overcame a 3-1 deficit in the World Series to win the championship over the Cleveland Indians.
It’s not over until it’s over — it’s about a big picture perspective.
It is seen easiest in the 20/20 vision of hindsight, but if we apply it to the nearsighted tendencies of our souls, it will radically impact how we play out each game in the seasons of our lives. If one had looked at the Leafs’ chances at the playoffs midway through their season, the Patriots halfway through the Super Bowl, the Cavaliers after 4 games, or the Cubs after 4 games one would most likely have completely written them off. Yet, here they are.
I don’t know where you’re at in your season and, to be honest, I don’t even know where I am at in my season. Unlike the sporting world, we don’t have a calendar neatly laying out what’s to come for the next 6 months. Our lives have seasons that are gritty and challenging. We experience mountain highs and valley lows almost daily. We often have bone-chilling emotional waves splash against us as we pursue what matters to our hearts. At times it indeed seems pretty much hopeless!
However, we have the power to show up game-after-game, day-after-day, moment-after-moment, with the bigger goal in mind. If we base our feelings and measure our success on each and every game or moment, we will quickly find a need to start stapling posters around town for our missing sanity.
It may not feel like it now, but there will come a day when this particular season is over and you’ll be able to reflect on all that seemed against you and say:
“Yet, here I am.”