The Happiest Saddest Day of My Life
I had the feeling that this was it. As hard as I might try, it was never going to get any better than this. I could try to be happier at some point in my life, but I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to be. I had been waiting twenty years and twenty-five days for it to occur, but the Philadelphia Phillies, phinally, were one strike away from winning the World Series.
Ever since I was about 5 years old, the Phightin’ Phils were my team. Sure, I liked the Eagles, watched the Sixers, even went to a few Flyers games, but none of those teams were the Phillies. No one could be the Phillies. My family had season tickets every year since I was 7, but every year they consistently failed to live up to my expectations. It almost became a routine. The team would start off terribly, make a mid-season run, get really hot at the end of the year, and then BAM!—another year gone without a postseason berth. The Phils went fourteen years without making it into the season that matters, 1993-2007, and to be honest? I didn’t think that streak was going to be broken any time soon. They had tried and failed to perform well in the past, and I didn’t think anything was going to change. And then, without warning, the Phillies ruined the rest of my life. By winning the World Series.
Imagine this if you can. Imagine fighting for something with all of your heart for you entire life, and then finally accomplishing what you set out to do in the first place. Sounds awesome, right? I thought so, too. For a long time, I wanted nothing more. But then it hit me. I am never going to be as happy as I was in the moment when the third strike crossed the plate ever again in my life. Sure, I’ve never been married or had kids or anything like that, but I haven’t spent the last twenty years of my life hoping to get married, have I? By giving me the happiest moment I have or ever will experience, all the other things in life that should get me excited have been a little bit dulled now. Ironic? Yes. Depressing? Even more so. I’m going to hold my first baby boy in my arms for the first time and tell him how much I love him, but all that I’ll be thinking of is what it was like celebrating after we won it all. Simply put, that experience will never, ever be beaten.
I really couldn’t tell you what I was thinking when I saw his pitch hit the catcher’s mitt. I could try to describe how happy I was, but that doesn’t quite do it justice. If you’ve never experienced your team winning a championship, you can’t comprehend it. I could have fallen down, I could have jumped in the air, but I really don’t know what I did. The first thing I remember is hugging my best friend and yelling at the top of my lungs “WE’RE WORLD CHAMPIONS!” It was pure, unadulterated joy, and as I said, there’s no way I will ever be as I was in that singular moment. I don’t know if there is a heaven, but if there is, I can only pray that it will be reliving that moment, over and over again, because nothing will ever be better.