For most of my life, the Pittsburgh Pirates, my hometown baseball team, were the worst team in baseball.
They were so bad that a few years ago when I was coaching softball in Boston, my team asked if the Pirates were an actual major league baseball team. You know, like the Red Sox.
“They are real,” I sighed. “Just like the Red Sox. That’s where Jason Bay came from.”
And for those Red Sox fans reading this, we also gave you Brock Holt.
Despite my team’s dismal performance for most of my life (they have been better these last few years) or maybe because of that misery, baseball’s opening day is my favorite day of the year. Above and beyond any holiday celebration, it's the start of baseball season that I look forward to most.
Opening day is optimism.
On the first day of the season, fans of every team can settle in to watch their team and think you know what?
Maybe this really is our year.
Maybe this rookie will live up to his expectations and maybe this fifth starter we picked up in a trade will return to his 2015 form and maybe, just maybe, there will be October baseball this year.
Opening day is a reminder that in a season this long, there will be great moments.
Even when my team was losing, and to put this in perspective, the Pirates were a losing team from 1993 until they broke that streak in 2013, I watched or listened to every pitch of every game.
And though my team didn’t even sniff the playoffs for the 20 years, I was rewarded for my loyalty with great moments.
Even in a year when my team lost 100 games, there was still that time a player hit for the cycle or a pitcher threw a complete game. There were triple plays and diving catches and one Saturday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh where the crowd was electrified by a three home run night from that no-name guy we picked up on waivers.
Persistence, I believe, is rewarded with great moments.
No season, no matter how long and grueling it might feel, is all bad.
Look for the moments in your journey.
And hang on to the optimism that today will be a great day.