A few things happened this past week that, for some, aren’t that amazing. But to others, they were something fantastic. Something they had been waiting years for.
The first such moment was an event 20 years in the making. The Pittsburgh Pirates won their 82nd game last week, officially ending their 21-year streak of consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates said that it was nice, but ultimately the playoffs are the goal of the team.
The other streak that was broken last Sunday was by running back James Starks of the Green Bay Packers. Starks ran for 132 yards in the game against the Washington Redskins, becoming the first Packer to run for over 100 yards in 45 regular season games since September 2010. Starks had previously run for 100 yards in a playoff game in 2011, but that was not factored into the regular season streak.
These two broken streaks may seem trivial to some. These marks should be achieved regularly by professional athletes. But to fans of these teams, these are special marks.
Sometimes in sports, average is good enough. When you have a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, it can be understandable to not rush for 100 yards. Yet in their game last Sunday, Rodgers threw for 480 yards on top of the 132 yards from Starks.
Success is measured differently for different people. I’m sure for some Pirates fans, just getting to .500 would be enough. Of course, professional athletes never want to simply settle. But for the fans, this year is already a success.
The same can be said of the Packers. Rodgers said after the game that he hopes this starts a trend, because the better the ground game, the better the play-action passing game gets. With that comes better passing. Yet for loyal Packer fans, just knowing now, at this time, that the Packers have it in them could be enough.
This is not to say that the norms of being a good team and in getting to a certain yard mark is not something that should be the norm. In all sports, a certain level is expected. But to the fans who have just been lifted by their team’s sudden rebound to average, they remember that these moments can be ever fleeting.
Surely the Pirates never expected to lose more games than they would win for 21 consecutive seasons. Maybe Barry Bonds leaving the team left a curse. But these things happen. They happen to a lot of teams.
Fans are ever patient. True fans can make it through the lows, because they know that they eventually can expect some highs. Except maybe Cubs fans. But they have come close too.
When these moments of being ordinary come, they are enough to tide us over. They are enough to get us through the storms until the time comes for our team to shine. When the “norm” becomes a constant reality. But remember, it can be fleeting. Enjoy it while you can, because tomorrow could be the start of a new streak, a new drop into below average.
But on the rare occasion that a team lives up to expectations, the norm, it is enough for now. Maybe down the road it will become a habit. If not, it was nice while it lasted. Hopefully, it comes again soon.