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For the love of the game (and the Mets … )

Laura Coletti | Wednesday, April 27, 2011

During the spring of 2006, something happened that forever changed my life: I sat down on a couch next to my uncle one Sunday afternoon and fell hopelessly in love with the New York Mets.

Every student here knows what it’s like to have your heart broken by a favorite team. The Notre Dame football team has broken all of our hearts. USC 2005? All of the 2007 season? Michigan State 2010? Each was utterly heart-wrenching.

Try getting your heart broken every year.

2006, my first year as a true fan, was an anomaly for my beloved blue and orange. They made it to the playoffs and fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS. I remember exactly where I was: with my brother and mom in my parent’s room. I watched Endy Chavez (Mets left fielder) make an impossible catch. I watched Aaron Heilmann give up the game-winning homerun, causing Shea Stadium to fall silent. I looked on as Carlos Beltran, the Mets’ last hope, watched the final strike find its way into the catcher’s mitt.

Strike three. You’re out.

The proceeding years have not been kind to the Kings of Queens. I was at the last game of the season in 2007 when they completed a historic 11-game collapse and allowed the dreaded Phillies to claim the NL East title.

In 2008, they suffered another mini-collapse, and in 2009 they were one of the worst teams in the MLB.

It’s not easy being a Mets fan at Notre Dame, where so many people are fans of successful teams, and because it is universally known that the Mets are only good at being bad. It is particularly difficult to root for them when people you are close to are fans of the rival Phillies.

Here’s a note to all baseball fans across campus: Next time you get into some banter with a Mets fan, lay off.

All of us here know what it’s like to have our hearts broken by a favorite sports teams. Mets fans just know it a little better. Sports are great. They’re real and they’re happy and they’re sad and they’re part of all of our lives.

I don’t love the Mets because it’s easy. I love them because they try and they’re constantly the underdog, and if they do surprise me one day and win the club’s third World Series title, it will be one of my happiest days ever.

I love the Mets because loving the Mets is like a metaphor for life. Love is sometimes hard. Life is sometimes hard. But if you work hard and you believe in what you want to see happen, you’ll get there. It might take a while (the Mets’ last World Series Title came in 1986 and their last appearance was in 2001), but once you achieve that success, it will be so, so sweet.

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu