Sunday, November 3, 2013

Miracle after the Marathon

I was speaking with my dad last night and told him about the Miami Dolphins unlikely overtime victory on Thursday night.  The Dolphins beat the Cincinnati Bengals on an unusual play, sacking the quarterback for a safety and winning 22-20.

When I relayed what had occurred he, a Miami fan, said, "See, there is a God."

We both laughed at this because neither of us are believers.  (Even those who are believers, I would hope, don't think that God is concerned with the outcome of football games).

While I don't believe in a God that determines events and to whom we can pray for things we desire, I do believe that there are moral imperatives and think of God as the embodiment of them.  In my opinion, these imperatives are not always or even often consistent with the dogma of organized religion or societal norms--but they exist. I'm not always successful adhering to the imperatives, but--regardless--that is what I think of when I think of God. I don't think of a God as someone who is calling the shots. And since my dad feels similarly, we both knew he was kidding when he attributed the Miami Dolphins victory to divine intervention.

But I do think sometimes there is a something that is beyond our 2013 abilities to comprehend that affects things. I don't think it is God, but there are things that are inexplicable.  Serendipity, for example.  How do you explain sometimes meeting someone when there are no logical explanations for the serendipity.  How do you explain miracles.

And this brings me to the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the fact that they won the world series the year of the Boston Marathon bombings.  Yesterday there was a parade through the streets of Boston.  When the players got to the finish line of the marathon, the amphibious duck boats on which they were riding stopped, two players alighted, hung Boston uniforms at the site and then meaningfully (not melodramatically) there was a singing of God Bless America.

I follow the Red Sox, watched parts of most of the games this year. The Red Sox did not have a good enough team to win the World Series. It sounds silly to write, because they in fact did win the World Series, but how they did it makes one wonder about another force operating.  Strange to read from a non believer, but consider this.

If you watched the playoffs you saw that the Red Sox throughout the games got meaningful hits from people who had done nothing before their meaningful hit.  The collective batting average for the Red Sox was abysmal, yet they continued to get big hits throughout the games.

The Red Sox had three key players on the team during the year. Two were predictably essential, the third came from nowhere. The predictable studs without whom the team does not win are David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.  The third key player is Koji Uehara. Without Uehara the Red Sox go nowhere.

Uehara was the closer and if you only saw the World Series you did not see how effective this guy was even though he was good in the World Series.  Uehara was unhittable during August and September.  Not an exaggeration.  Uehara was not supposed to be the closer for the team. The designated closer got hurt. Then his replacement got hurt. Then they tried Uehara and nobody could hit him.  He never would have even gotten a chance to be as good as he was, unless there were injuries.

 There are other examples of how games were inexplicably won and players played beyond reasonable expectations. Is there such a thing as "luck?" Is it possible that a team could just get lucky and win a championship. My gut response is typically, no, you make your own luck. But as much as I pull for the Red Sox, they really did not have the horses to win. Mike Napoli had some very weak stretches during the season and then kaboom he hits a 450 foot homerun off of a stud like Justin Verlander so the Sox win 1-0 against Detroit in the ALCS.  Before that at-bat he, and the entire Red Sox team, looked like little leaguers against Verlander.   Napoli hits a shot that goes into orbit and the Red Sox eventually advance.

Is it possible that there is a force we can't explain that makes things right, has a sense of adjusting the universe.  All my intelligence screams no, but the evidence of miracles makes me wonder.

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