Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.- The Shawshank Redemption
I’ve seen this before. I’m a Red Sox fan, and anyone who is a real Red Sox fan will tell you when it happened.
I was in my basement on the computer. It was a half hour until Game Four of the American League Championship Series, a series in which the Red Sox trailed 3-0 to the Yankees. Being a Sunday in October, I was clad in my finest Buffalo Bills merchandise, save for a Red Sox cap. Hours ago, the Bills had won, giving a bit of joy to what had to be a sorrowful day.
Not 24 hours before, the Yankees had come into Fenway Park and and murdered Game Three, 19-8. No, really. There were blood stains all over the place. I personally was amazed that the grounds crew had kept the grass green enough to play on after all that bloodshed. Nevertheless, there was still a game to be played the next night, whether a mere formality or otherwise.
As I sat in my basement killing time before the series finale, trying to avoid thoughts of the inevitable, I tried to remember what I hadn’t done. What superstition did I mess up? Did I do everything right? It was then that I had a striking revelation.
“There is nothing you can do, Ryan.” I said to myself. “The only thing you can do is watch and hope.”
It was a revelation to me, yes, but also to many other die hard fans. The problem with us is that we feel way, way too involved. Through this feeling we also believe we can somehow affect the outcome of games. When thinking rationally, this is impossible, and wishful thinking at best. But put an entire regular season and extended playoff run into the equation, and there is no such thing as rational thinking.
And so I looked at Game Four with different eyes. I understood that whatever happened had to, and there was nothing I could do. I watched, and of course I was freaking out the entire time, more nervous than I ever have been in my life, but it was not an impending doom nervousness, it was a hope that it would not end that night.
The rest is history, but a history that starts and ends with one man: Dave Roberts. Without one stolen base, one monumental moment in Red Sox history, one beating of the odds, the comeback would not have happened. What followed Roberts’ stolen base is arguably the greatest two weeks of my life, and something I will never forget.
So will the Sabres do the impossible? None of us can answer that question. All we can do is watch. My hope is that somewhere on that roster is a Dave Roberts. Maybe it’s Chris Drury. Maybe it’s Nathan Paetsch. Maybe it’s The Goose. Until it happens, all we can do is hope.