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Opening Day

Luke Masour | Tuesday, April 6, 2010

As sports fans, almost everyone can name one event that epitomizes everything they love about that particular sport. If you’re an NFL fan, there is nothing greater than the Super Bowl. March Madness thrills just about everyone for the numerous gambling opportunities it provides as well as America’s seminal love for the underdog. If you’re a soccer fan, nothing will ever compare to the World Cup every four years.

But there is one event each year that, while not providing the excitement and drama that these other events produce, represents everything that is great about being a sports fan — Opening Day of the baseball season.

Many people, no doubt, would scoff at such a premise. Opening Day is only the first of 162 games to be played for all 30 Major League Baseball clubs. It is seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of the baseball season, and very rarely are there lasting memories made during Opening Day games. But Opening Day is about so much more than that.

For a true baseball fan, Opening Day is the beginning of the best six sports months of the year, because it means getting to follow your team every day. The baseball fan lives through every pitch and every at-bat, throughout the highs and lows of their team’s season.

Opening day is the signal that a long winter has ended, including a dreary February and half of March where there are zero meaningful sporting events after the Super Bowl. It means that spring has arrived and summer is not far behind…

Most of all though, Opening Day represents hope, and that is really what sports are all about.  (Note: if you are a fan of the Pirates, this may not apply to you. I’m sorry, there is not much hope there.)

Opening Day means the thought of never being bored on a lazy summer day. It means the excitement of a possible pennant race and the chance to dream of October glory on a rainy spring afternoon. It means following your team through good times and bad, day-in and day-out.

For me, Opening Day refers to my hope for the Chicago Cubs. The hope that after 102 years, they will finally be able to win the World Series for me, and more importantly those loyal fans who have patiently waited far longer than I could ever imagine. It means never having to hear another anguished “Wait til’ Next Year.” It means the opportunity to go cheer on the Cubs this summer at Wrigley, what every Cubs fan believes is greatest place on earth. For fans of every other team, there are aspirations of their own.

So at least for one day, I can forget about the fact that the Cubs have no bullpen, that we are stuck with Alfonso Soriano for another five years, and that Carlos Zambrano may never live up to his potential. I, like countless numbers of fans, dare to think that the stars could align just this year. The baseball season is underway, and no matter what happens for your team in the coming months, for now there should be only optimism. Baseball fans: you are now invited to sit back, relax, and dare to dream.