Dealing with loss

Losing AgainI understand that those who frequent are not necessarily interested in baseball, much less in the outcome of the American League Divisional Series. For that reason, I’ve tried to steer clear of baseball subjects throughout the life of this site. Nevertheless, there are several out there who know that I am an avid Yankee fan, and as you can imagine the events that have happened in the course of the past week have left me feeling a bit numb.

Yes, the Yankees lost again. This time manhandled by the Cleveland Indians, a club who just last year wasn’t even sniffing the post season. This of course has had me spending some time looking for ways to deal with another October sans Yankees. You can imagine my surprise when an email from my mother-in-law helped me to put things into perspective.

An avid student of Jewish culture, she came upon a video blog from titled Isn’t losing wonderful?. In it Rabbi Yaakov Salomon comments on the loss of our beloved Yankees (and the Mets for good measure), suggesting that while “victory teaches you nothing”, “losing can teaching you everything.” He goes on exposit Proverbs 24:16:

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity

He states that Jewish interpreters of this proverb suggest that it is not in spite of the fact that the righteous man falls seven times but it is because of the fact that he falls, and the lessons that he learns in the failures, that he rises again.

I think many of us are examples of this interpretation. I know that I, for one, rarely reflect on my victories, but the pain of failure that the sense of loss that follows drive me to determine the source of my defeat and resolve to come back stronger the next time.

So encouragement can be found in the lesson of losing. Of course, now that the Yankees have fallen seven times, I fully expect victory in 2008!

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  1. Joel’s avatar

    Hey Dave,

    I am very sorry but I have to confess; my favorite day of the baseball season every year is the day the Yankees are eliminated. Maybe that would change if my Royals could ever turn it around, but until then I must continue to be a Yankee hater.

    I was very happy to see Joe snub George today; as much as I dislike the Yankees, I do respect Torre.

  2. Dave’s avatar


    Well I guess I have to say that I was in no way expecting the turn of events that basically came to a head today. When I titled the post “Dealing with Loss,” I had fully expected Joe Torre to be back in 2008. In light of what has happened, I think that this post takes a bit more significance. Now we are not just dealing with loss in terms of defeat, we are dealing with loss as in the end of an era.

    Joe defined the Yankees of ’96-’07. He instilled the business-like calm demeanor that characterized the World Series Championship teams. He brought back the “aura and mystic” to a franchise that had seemingly lost its way in the ’80s and early ’90s, and, guiding the Yankees to collect 4 titles, he made them again a team to either love or hate.

    Now there are question marks. Will the new manager be it Mattingly, Girardi, Valentine, or someone else be able to look forward to similar success? Will the new occupant of the clubhouse office be able to handle the New York media, the Boss, or whoever seems to be speaking for him these days? Will he be able to fashion a group of talented and highly paid athletes into the team that we enjoyed during our championship runs? Only time will tell. Of course that’s why we play the game. It’s just that we’ll have a different manager determining how the Yankees play it in 2008.

  3. Joel’s avatar

    Hey Dave,

    I just heard that the Royals have hired a long time Yankee minor league manager before going to Japan to manage the last five years. Maybe he can bring some of that Yankee mystique to the Royals and bring back 85!

    Take care!

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