A World Series Win in a Season of Loss

The Washington Nationals’ historic victory is bittersweet for anyone who is, like me, grieving a fan.

Posted in , Oct 31, 2019

Nationals win the World Series

I love the phrase “emotional roller coaster.” To me, it so perfectly captures the simultaneous excitement and queasiness that accompanies any up-and-down time in life. 

The 2019 World Series was exactly that. Every game in the seven-game series—for the first time in Major League Baseball history—was won by the visiting team, which left spectators gaping. The Nationals, who won the championship, made a habit of falling behind on the scoreboard before patiently building back toward their wins. The nail-biting and cheering happened at the same time.

The Nationals’ winning season came at an emotional time for me, as my father, a fan, died of cancer a little more than a month ago. The joyful outcome of the World Series stood out starkly against the autumnal reflections that have occupied so much of my emotional energy these past weeks. And the sadness of not being able to share the win with Dad has been overwhelming at times.

But there are also parts of this emotional roller coaster that are examples of authentic positivity. For one thing, so many people who knew Dad’s fondness for the Nationals were thinking of him, of my family, as the team steadily made their way toward the championship. This gave me a palpable sense of love and support that can otherwise sometimes seem to be waning as the weeks start to pass after the initial wave of grief. 

There’s also the metaphorical positive power of sports. In loss as well as in victory, being part of a team means embracing whatever comes our collective way. We are never alone in our triumphs or our defeats. Only together can we move forward.

Come to think of it, that’s the other thing about roller coasters—we don’t ride them alone. Sometimes they’re scary; sometimes they’re joyous. But with fellow riders at our sides, we experience them fully, aware of every up and down but bolstered by our companions.

So in a season of personal loss, I am drawing a deep breath and taking in all the inspiring headlines, pictures and stories about a team that brought a World Series championship to my home city of Washington, DC, for the first time in 95 years. I wish Dad were here to see it. But I also know he is with me as I do.

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