Tonight the Nationals lost a game they had been leading 9-0.
After 3-run homers in three different innings, including a season record 465-footer by Michael Morse that landed at the Red Porch restaurant behind center field, the pitching staff wilted in the rain and the power hitters of the Braves took full advantage. Danny Espinoza’s wonderful plunker into the Braves bullpen was an exciting moment but ultimately tying the game merely postponed the loss. It’s an unfortunate lead-in to tomorrow’s double header, but this team has frequently defied expectations. That’s about the only thing it does consistently, and the response to this humiliation will determine whether they are truly playoff caliber or just having a surprisingly good season.
Die hard fans have a lot to freak out about, but I’m not a blind passionate fan of anything. That’s just not my style. I scream loudly for my chosen heroes but I can appreciate a good performance, even from the other team. I might be a little more down if I had actually sat in Nationals Park for the four hour game in the rain and then had to hustle to the Metro, but I’d probably forget about it as soon as my husband kissed me goodnight.
Then again, I’m aware that I’m fortunate to have him at home and kissing me. Friday morning, our country woke to the news that a lone gunman had randomly opened fire at the beginning of a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, uncannily confusing fans who thought he was a performer hired to match the action on the screen.
Tonight, there are twelve fewer people kissing their loved ones goodnight.
Dozens more are injured, and an entire community is shattered while we as a country wonder why such tragic shootings keep happening. Random violence is a problem that’s too big, too systemic, too beyond our control to prevent. Or so we think. Most of the perpetrators are isolated young men, often with a history of instability. Their odd behavior causes many people to avoid them and gives them the freedom to acquire arsenals and attack gear right under our noses. As the people of Norway discovered last summer, even the strictest gun control laws can’t prevent a determined, intelligent lunatic from stockpiling weapons and planning sophisticated attacks.
What evil has been unleashed when college students can’t attend class, a congresswoman can’t meet her constituents at a grocery store, and families can’t attend the movies? We’re so inured to it that we try to find reasons where there aren’t any, we analyze what happened down to the smallest detail, and then we do nothing to create change.
Yet, we always pray. Whatever our religion, after these tragedies we gather, we hug, we sing, we pray, we light candles, and leave flowers and draw posters. We honor the dead and support those they left behind. A lot of goodness erupts. We don’t always notice through our tears, but eventually we look back and can trace a line of hidden blessings that emerged in the aftermath.
The entire premise of Batman is creating good from tragedy, justice prevailing over evil. Maybe the message for us today is that we don’t have to be superheroes. We just have to take care of each other.