always protect myself

This time around, I’ll have my guard up. My sports boxing gloves will stay figuratively attached to my sports cheek bones.

By the way, I started boxing training last week. Probably just for exercise. And even though it is at the moment just for exercise, my trainer insisted that I keep up my guard, lest I open up my face to be smashed by my theoretical opponent.

It should be noted that I rarely even come close to having a physical confrontation. In a pinch, I practice the ancient self-defense technique of telling them what they want to hear. However, I was metaphorically knocked on my metaphorical ass by sports last fall.

In a three-day span, I endured as much bruising and heartbreak at the hands of sports as I had ever previously taken in a month’s time.

The lowlights:

  • October 27: With a three-games-to-two lead over the St. Louis Cardinals and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Texas Rangers held a 7-5 lead and were on the brink of celebrating their first World Series. I don’t want to write about how it unraveled. That would mean reading the play-by-play and I still can’t take it. The Cardinals won, 10-9, in 11 innings.
  • October 28: The Cardinals defeated a clearly dejected bunch of Rangers in Game 7.
  • October 29: The Texas Tech Red Raiders, coming off a stunning upset of Oklahoma in Norman, were smashed by Iowa State, 41-7, in Lubbock. That touched off a five-game season-ending losing streak that dropped the Red Raiders to their first losing season in 19 years.

I would rather be hit in the face by Mike Tyson than live through that again.

So as I settled in to watch the first game of a pivotal series between the Rangers and A’s on Monday night, I felt the weight of what is to come. I have confidence that the Rangers will win the AL West. And that means the potential for more than 20 more games like last night when the intensity is at once dreadful and wonderful. But beyond hoping the Rangers win the division, I’m not getting too high. I am satisfied and will not be disappointed if the Rangers lose in the divisional round of the playoffs. I know what kind of heartbreak that would save me.

As for the Red Raiders, well, they’re the only entity in the universe that has been allowed to repeatedly break my heart. I keep forgiving them. But even at that, I’ve tempered my expectations.

Sports might win by decision this fall. Hell, I expect sports will win.

But my guard is up.

Photo via MSN Entertainment.

Follow The Live Ball on Twitter @live_ball.




I will not be knocked cold.


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