Corey Costelloe mug

Corey Costelloe

We need the game now more than ever, but, for reasons somewhat beyond its control, the game is not here. Some have talked about returning, some balk at proposals to do so. But please read the room: We need the game back in our lives to provide the much-needed and valuable distractions from ourselves.

The game, whatever it may be, teaches us an important lesson that these days we need to be reminded of more than ever: Man is imperfect. Man can accomplish little alone; man must rely on others from all walks of life to accomplish his own goals. We need one another. The game provides that we must work together toward a common goal. We need the scenes unfolding before us that include players of all backgrounds handing out high-fives, hugs and various other affections. We need celebrations, accomplishments, victory and defeats, for lessons reside in those as well.

Surveying the scene before us and this attempted divide that seeks to drive many apart, some of us refuse to bite, refuse to play into the rhetoric because our reality is tied to the lessons we learned in those games. The lessons were learned with those teams and with those teammates around us, no matter their background, that joined us in our triumphs, shortcomings and life lessons.

Man is imperfect; the game makes that abundantly clear. A great night of shooting in basketball is defined by being on target half of the time. Baseball says you can be successful at the plate just over 30 percent of your attempts and be considered for the Hall of Fame. Football is OK with moving just a few yards at a time, but even the shortest forward progress is progress. Man is imperfect; we accept that within the parameters of the game, but many have allowed themselves to be manipulated by a society that wants to hold many to an unobtainable standard. To divide by something uncontrollable, the imperfection of the human race.

In the game we work on our imperfections, we practice to improve, we study, we ask for the help of others to make us better; even then we are not perfect. In the history of Major League Baseball there have been just 23 perfect games in the 218,400 all-times game played. That means in only 23 cases has a pitcher managed to retire all 27 batters faced without giving up a walk, hit or an error committed by his teammates. The feat represents just .01 percent of the games played all time. Even the men who managed to catch immortality and perfection for one night needed a team behind them to do so.

The acceptance of imperfection is a must during the game. Not every game can be perfect. Obviously few are, but accepting said imperfection is a requirement for even suiting up and playing the game. It would be unreasonable to expect every pitcher, every hitter, every shooter, every running back to play the perfect game, and in the game we do not. But accepting that imperfection also means a commitment to improve, a commitment to reject the oppositional systems put in place to divide, for the sake of uniting in our common efforts.

We learn a lot from the game, its current absence suspicious given its tendency to unite during times of unrest. Its ability to give us a common interest to root for, to root against, and to enjoy among our diverse brethren.

We need the game now more than ever, we need the ability to embrace our imperfection, and address them in the most constructive platform available, the platform of sport, in the context of a team, among the united group we call fans.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at corey.costelloe@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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