Copyright © 2014 by Ralph F. Couey
Written content only
Belief is, I believe, based on either conditions we would desperately like to exist, or something we know, but lack the solid proof. Call it a gut feel, if you will
People who adhere to a particular religious tradition are familiar with the latter. A deity, in whatever form one happens to be drawn to, doesn’t exist in a form we can readily see, touch, or otherwise prove. But in the heart, however, the belief is more certainty than conjecture.
Segueing from the celestial to the terrestrial, here we find ourselves, as fans of the amazing Kansas City Royals, hanging with them on the brink of elimination after two losses in which the boys in blue were, quite simply, dominated. True, the series shifts to the friendly, if frenetic confines of the K for the final two tilts of this year’s Fall Classic, but will the familiar environment of “home” be enough to divert the momentum of the Giants?
Before we drown ourselves in doubt, let’s take a quick reality check.
The Royals made it this far. 24 other teams are off deer hunting as we speak. For the first time in nearly three decades, our team is here in the national spotlight, their improbable run producing closet fans across the country, and around the globe. It has been a heady run, to be sure, with the promise of more success to follow in the brief few years before the lure of hundred-million-dollar contracts begins to inevitably disperse this singular group to the four winds of free agency.
According to the experts, they had no right to be here, right now. The Royals had almost no offense, except when they really, really needed it, relying almost as much on mistakes by the opposition to help them plate runs. According to the experts, their opponents in the playoffs, the A’s and the O’s, had better records, better pitching, better offense…heck, better everything.
Yet the Royals are here.
Sports today runs on the engine of statistics. Every conceivable nuance of the game has been reduced to the numerical; to the binary. It is this collection of numbers by which the experts decide who will, or perhaps, who should win or lose. But with the plethora of stats out there, there is one that has thus far eluded even the geekiest analyst.
The awesome power of the human heart.
It is that immeasurable quality that as much as any other influence, determines outcomes. Just last night, the Washington Redskins (or NFL franchise, if you prefer), a team in almost total disarray, and led by their third-string quarterback, walked into Dallas to take on a revived Cowboy team on a five-game tear. By any statistical measure, the ‘Skins should have been blown out. The game should have been over by the end of the first quarter.
Yet, the Redskins won.
However improbable such a result could have been, as John Adams once said, “facts are stubborn things.” And the fact is, the ‘Skins won, not on numbers, but on belief.
So tonight the Kansas City Royals will take the field for game six staring dead into the gimlet eyes of the season’s end. By all statistical accounting and manipulation, the Series will be over by 11 p.m. central time.
But I don’t think that will happen.
I believe that this team will win not only tonight, but tomorrow as well. And not because of what the numbers dictate. Because there is one thing that this team, these 2014 Kansas City Royals have already repeatedly proven. And that is that they don’t play on statistics.
They play on heart.
And in the end, that will be enough.