I’m not a baseball fan. But I do love my city. And around this time of year, when the players have been performing well, it’s absolutely impossible not to notice the San Francisco Giants. This little metropolis of just seven by seven miles gets wild and whirly over America’s pastime. Residents get extra chipper, people ditch work to catch the game, the Facebook news feed jams with cheers, and even City Hall changes its lights to the team’s color, orange.
Besides all the personalities with nicknames like The Freak, Mad Bum, and Panda, another thing that makes this ball club special is a feeling and phenomenon that devotees affectionately (sometimes, wincingly) call Torture. Back in 2010, on the Giants’ first trip to San Diego, the team seemed incapable of scoring a run. It was driving everyone insane, and at one point, broadcaster Duane Kuiper turned to his partner Mike Krukow and said on the air:
“Giants baseball. Torture.”
It’s an expression supporters have since taken to describe the team’s practice of pushing games to the brink of disaster only to turn it around to achieve the best of outcomes. Such as making it all the way to the World Series that same year and clinching the championship.
To match, fans also adopted the 1981 pop hit by local band, Journey, as its theme song: Don’t Stop Believin’. With their backs against the wall, the Giants make a terrifying opponent to face. In recent weeks, the team unleashed what USA Today dubbed “a new version of torture.” They faced elimination six times. That is, they nearly ended their season. Had their necks on the chopping block. Almost called it over. Six times! And six times, they emerged victorious.
Sports fan or not, there’s a message for all of us in this team’s spirit. No matter how bleak the situation, no matter how bad the odds, never mind the enormity of the hurdle, brush off what the critics and analysts have to say, whether you’re in a diamond or any place else that life might throw a curve ball at you, take it one swing at a time, go one pitch at a time, never give up, and never – ever – count yourself out. You just might come home with the trophy at the end of it all.
Now, whatever your field, you go out there and play your heart out!
And go Giants!
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