It doesn’t get any easier. Two seasons in a row, both ending with a loss. Last year was more devastating–we should have been in the playoffs. This year we knew how it was going to end, but it is still tough. As I write this merely hours after the game, it still hasn’t sunk in. I can’t believe we just ended the season with a loss to the Pirates of all people. But it’s true. And it’s going to hit me sometime this week. But I can’t believe it’s over.
Everyone knows the Padres had a horrible year. It was disgusting, disappointing, and utterly detestable. But they’re my team. I am a Padres fan, through thick and thin. As bad as this season was, there are so many positives. The young players: Will Venable, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley. The veteran players: Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles. And the comeback players: Jody Gerut, Mike Adams, Shawn Estes. Adrian with his big bat, and Kouz with his stellar glove. From the induvidual standpoint, there were many positives. But as a team, it wasn’t working. 99 losses is proof of that.
This season changed my life. At the beginning of the season, you would have called me an obsessed fan. I would listen to every Spring Training game. As the season started, I was all-Padres all the time. When I wasn’t on the internet reading stuff from the Padres, Union-Tribune, and XX 1090 websites, I was writing, thinking, and breathing Padres baseball. My schedule and my time were revolving around the Padres. I was up listening to every pitch of the 22 inning game. When I had the opportunity to go to a youth conference in Minnesota, there was consultation of my Padres schedule. Thankfully, my love for the Padres didn’t hinder me from going, because it changed my life. In the weeks before I left, I was growing incresingly depressed over the Padres. I wouldn’t sleep well after a loss. My attitude and outlook on life was horrible. Because I was so attached to the Padres, their patheticness was hitting me hard. Looking back, I think I was seriously depressed. But I didn’t see it then. The day I left, the Padres got beat in extras by a walk-off grand slam in St. Louis. I was really upset. I knew I needed help. One of my classes at the conference was called “Does God Care About Sports?” It was taught by a pastor, a big football fan. I learned so much from him. He had been an obsessed fan once like I was. This pastor helped me realize my problem. The Padres were essentially, my idol. I was pretty much worshipping them. The problem was that the Padres were taking God’s place in my life. That’s why I was so depressed. Because without God, I’m dead. The scary part is that I didn’t realize that the Padres had taken over. There are a few things that are essential to this situation: 1. I recognized that I had a problem. 2. I wanted to change. Also, I was disconnected from the Padres for the whole week. I knew nothing that the Padres were doing during the week. When I talked to my youth and family pastor later that day, he noticed a change in me. He told me that he had noticed that something had been weighing on me, and that God was setting me free from it. It was then that I realized how awesome my God is. He was relieving me of a burden that I didn’t realize I had been carrying.
What happened that week is what I like to call “The Release”. I let go of the Padres and got God back into the center of my life. I can certainly still enjoy games. But as long as the Padres are not ruling me, I’m fine. But believe me, the rest of the season was not easy. I struggled every day to put God before everything else. One of my greatest assurances is knowing that God is in control of everything, even baseball games. I don’t know why we had such a bad season, but I know that God has a plan for it. Maybe He used it for the very purpose of relieving me of them. I really don’t know. It hurt to lose the last game of the season, this year and last. But He’s in control. And as hard as it is to have a season end, I am so glad to have a break. I need it. Next year will be different. I won’t be ruled but the Padres. Baseball is a game, for goodness sakes. People are meant to enjoy it. And that’s what I am going to do.