Hopefully there will be better luck next time

    Recently, I may have taken on a job without completely thinking it through. I probably should have seen the trouble coming, but I still ran right into it as if I were driving through a dark parking lot with my headlights off.

    I’ve always been one whose optimism overshadows the possible setbacks of every situation. It seems like I take on tasks with an expectation that they’re going to go exactly as planned, and at the finish I’ll come out where I had planned to be. And it seems like in just about everything I do, I am quickly slapped in the face with everything that I didn’t expect.

    I would like to think that I’m not the only one who often faces such unpleasant surprises. Professional athletes deal with unexpected obstacles, as well as members of Triton athletic teams.

    With this being the first week of October, and Major League Baseball beginning its postseason, let’s take a look at problems that big league teams face. My beloved but pathetic Dodgers, for instance, held a four-and-a-half game lead over the scum of the National League, the Giants, with only four weeks left in the season. Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy never seriously thought that his starting pitchers, who together made up one of the strongest rotations through the first half of the season, would suddenly have trouble getting out of the first inning.

    Also, Tracy and the Dodgers probably wouldn’t have imagined that they would have to deal with the loss of rookie Kazuhisa Ishii, who was struck in the head by a line drive on Sept. 8, leaving the Dodgers without one of their solid starters. The team went into a pivotal point in its schedule without the personnel Tracy thought he would have, and the Dodgers lost their lead to rival San Francisco.

    After holding an all-but-promising lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the National League, the Dodgers were hit by a giant surprise that a crystal ball wouldn’t have helped to predict, and Los Angeles was left with a bitter taste in its mouth when Barry Bonds and the Giants clinched the NL wild card.

    However, when you come to a bump in the road (as I have experienced personally and observed as a sports fan) that seems to prove that only unluckiness exists, all you can do is hope that you don’t take it like a dropped Honda with no shocks.

    Now the Dodgers are going to be forced to sit and watch the Giants battle through the National League playoffs and wonder, what if? Now Los Angeles wonders how it would feel to still be playing baseball, while thinking about what it needs to do to improve for next season.

    Next spring, teams that missed the playoffs, such as the Dodgers, will be put to the test, and fans will see if teams can respond to the challenge that falling flat on their faces stirs up. The Dodgers and others will have to answer to the challenge of recovering from the unexpected drawbacks that the past season brought, and will have to respond by reaching the playoffs in 2003.

    As I continue working on the job that has provided several bumps in the road for me, I’m not going to work around the surprises, but prepare for them as though I knew they were coming and avoid the uncomfortable ride that unexpected shockers provide.

    Individually or as a team, as an athlete or a writer, there is no doubt that the finish will come after going through the obstacle course. But hopefully next time you can move on without stumbling and make a smoother run through the course.

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