Never Say Die
For those of you that don’t know, I’m a sophomore in high school. In high school, you have assignments and what not. I wanted to share this assignment with you for one reason: It’s about the Royals. The assignment was to write about a time where you learned a lesson. Okay, I’m going to blow your minds.
One of the things that everybody knows about me is that I like baseball. I particularly have a fetish for the Kansas City Royals. With that, usually comes a roller coaster of emotions: Anxiety, fear, pessimism, heartbreak, and everything in between. I got into baseball when I was twelve years old. Baseball is good for a lot of things, but the most valuable thing I’ve gotten out of baseball is that anything can happen, and you can’t give up even when your back is against the wall.
I was obviously a confused child. That’s really the only way to explain why a person would voluntarily start cheering for an organization that hadn’t been to the playoffs since they were --13 years old, and had suffered seven 90+ loss seasons in a row. Trust me, there have been plenty of days where I sit, and I ponder the question: Did I make the right decision?
If you don’t know this by now: The Kansas City Royals are having one of the greatest postseason runs in MLB history. Okay, let’s backup for a second:
September 20, 2014:
‘As I hugged my friends’ goodbye, I headed down the concourse at Kauffman Stadium feeling absolutely defeated. By the time I was at the bottom, my shirt collar was soaked with tears. I was a mess, and it was at that moment that I realized where this season was headed: Absolutely nowhere, and I would have to wait another year to watch my boys play in the postseason.’
Okay, fast forward two weeks:
October 4, 2014:
‘The last time I walked down this concourse, I was crying because I thought the Royals wouldn’t make the playoffs. Now I cry because we’re headed to the ALCS.’
In the last two weeks of the season, the Royals lost their division lead, and had to settle for a wildcard spot. The wildcard spot was a one-game playoff against the other wildcard winner, and it was do or die: Winner moved on to play the Angels, loser went home.
In the wildcard game, we jumped out to an early lead. Everything was all fine and cool for the fans of Kansas City.... Then the sixth inning hit, and our manager made a decision that very well could have cost us our entire season: He put in Yordano Ventura. Yordano Ventura was a starting pitcher that had no business coming in in that situation. Sure enough, Ventura gave our opponents, the Oakland A’s, a lead right back. I won’t lie when I tell you that I thought that team was done. They were down by four runs, and against Jon Lester, a four run deficit was practically insurmountable.
“Our season is over. We’re never going to make it to playoffs again.” I said in between sobs.
“They’ll be back next year. Next year they’ll go even further. Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.” My dad tried to comfort me, but I was too far gone.
As I sat in that tiny yellow room, I cried, and when I looked at the scoreboard, I exclaimed, “Holy crap!”
The Royals had made a miraculous come back to force extra innings, and eventually won the game. Though they won the game, they wouldn’t have an easy task afterward. They had to continue on and play the team with the best record in baseball: The Los Angeles Angels. Many thought that winning the series wouldn’t happen, but on Sunday October 5, 2014, they swept the series.
I’ve learned a few things in my sixteen years of life, but it’s kind of funny to think that baseball taught me the most valuable thing: Even when your back is against the wall, never give up because the improbable might just happen.