I’m not always the happiest person on planet Earth. I’ve struggled with anxiety at times and often fall firmly in the “realist” (as opposed to “optimist”) camp of life-outlook. Fortunately for me, sports tend to be an oasis for—rather than an extension of—that mindset.
That does not seem to ring true for most Minnesota sports fans at the moment. The Wolves & Wild were recently bounced from their respective first-round postseason berths at the same time that the Twins faced their biggest setback of the season—getting swept by the Houston Astros. The Vikings have embarked on a massive regime-change voyage. Times are a bit uncertain in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and that sentiment seems palpable amongst the fan base. Truth be told I probably contributed to the angst a bit myself, what with the recent missive on the Twins/Yankees curse.
I recently finished reading a book entitled Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. In it, the author posits—rather convincingly—that human beings are rather poor at anticipating, defining, or experiencing happiness. Essentially, we are sabotaged by the machinations of our own brain, which must always be rooted in the present despite the ability to harken back or project forward. As such, “happiness” as a concept is tough to pin down, as the emotions behind it always come from the present state.
So right now, instead of wallowing in MN sports self-pity or worrying about what the future might hold, I’m going to try and remain grounded in the present, where there is actually a lot to like about this Minnesota Twins club. A few examples:
- Sure, sending Royce Lewis back to St. Paul didn’t feel great. But it also meant that the Twins’ platinum-glove star shortstop—who is now raking at the dish—didn’t bust a phalanx! Also, seeing Lewis perform like a competent major leaguer (if not far superior) is truly wonderful news after missing two entire seasons to COVID & injury.
- Byron Buxton shooting for something like 100-110 games, you say? Sure, we’d love to see him for the full 162…but he’s eclipsed the century mark just once in his career. With the alternative being an extended IL stay, I’m okay with this management of his patellar tendonitis and hip soreness with the hope that it allows him to see the field when the games really matter late in the season (and maybe beyond).
- The Astros series stunk—no way to spin that. But perhaps it served as a bit of a wakeup call for all involved. The roster the Twins threw out for that triumvirate wasn’t exactly ideal, and maybe that spurred an effort to make hay in the current soft underbelly of the schedule.
Right now, the Twins are winning at a .600 clip. Is that a mirage built on a weak AL Central? Maybe. Will it continue when June brings some East Coast powerhouses? Maybe not. I’ll deal with that fallout if/when it transpires. All I know is that last year at this time the Twins were ten games under .500 and ten games behind in the division—essentially DOA before Memorial Day. As such, I’m going to try and enjoy every moment—including the recent comeback heroics—of the current revival and not try to project too far into the future. According to Gilbert, my temporal lobe wouldn’t do a very good job of it anyway.