More often than many care to admit, there is more to sports than winning and losing.
Unfortunately for half the teams involved, including my beloved Cardinals, there is a bitter side.
That is a part of competition and life all of us have to accept at some point.
But some sporting events offer a moment of healing and rescue. Of relief and escape. Some sense of this is how things should be.
The 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and the city of Boston have that opportunity to revel in winning.
That team took advantage of the opportunity to bring a city stricken by an indescribable tragedy, some peace and comfort.
They had to win, they needed to win and Boston deserved to win.
This team, which was the jester of major league baseball last year, is now its king, with the city of Boston as its crown jewel.
Selfishly, I sat and waited for the chance to jump and cheer in joy after the Cardinals won their second title in two years, but it wasn’t meant to be and I accept that.
I know a lot of people hate how long baseball runs, but I also know how important a single game out of 182 can be.
More importantly, I know how important game number 187 can be.
I was able to experience that feeling after attending game 5 of this year’s NLDS with one of my best friends who suffered a personal loss earlier this year.
He, two of our friends and I drove six hours round trip to watch the Cardinals move on to the NLCS at Busch Stadium, a usually triumphant feat by itself, but this meant more.
Sitting there in the upper deck of left field after the final out, you could feel a sense of comfort in that win, not only to him but for all of us.
That’s what I love about sports and what they can bring to the people that need them the most.
That is what Boston received Wednesday night, and they deserved it.
It is the same sort of healing I’m sure New York Yankee fans felt during their run at the 2001 World Series, although they didn’t win.
It is the same thing the New Orleans Saints’ fans experienced during their Super Bowl Championship after Hurricane Katrina.
And it is the same feeling Alabama and their loyals had after the tornado in 2012.
The examples are endless.
But there is a chance to move on in sports that life does not allow us to do.
I am reminded of this with every year I live.
I’m sure some of you have been able to deal with life more easily with UK’s or Louisville’s wins and national titles.
For me, I have to accept baseball is over and the Cardinals aren’t champions, but I remember winning and losing, in athletics, simply doesn’t matter anymore.
During Game 6, I was with the same friend and while we were both upset, he never let down because he just simply wanted the Cardinals to win and nothing more.
He was back to his old ways of nervous, anxious, hope that will lead him and all of us that need some solace in sports back to feeling normal.
Now, I’m not naive. I understand it would have meant much more than I can describe if they would have won it all, but it was back to being just a game.
That is why I ultimately fell in love with them and that’s why all of us, Boston fans or not, should cheer #BostonStrong with the Red Sox and the rest of those needing sports to make life seem easier, at least until next year.
Column by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor