When something as joyous and heartwarming as yesterday’s walk-off win happens, it’s easy to fall victim to clichés about magic and teams of destiny and things of that nature. While none of that is wrong or bad by any means, the downside of such incredible moments is how often they reduce the mind to simple, familiar narratives. I could sit here and write 8,000 words about the Mariners capturing the spirit of Seattle, or how Dave Niehaus is smiling down on everything Mariner-related, and I’d enjoy every second of doing so.
But rather than reading a blogger wax poetic about this team and all the feelings they capture, why not just stare at this picture that does the job better than any words possibly could?
There is so much to unpack here.
Again, the photo is infinitely better than any words I will write about it, but other things being better than me has never stopped me before! When this first appeared on my timeline yesterday I felt like I was looking at a family photo from the happiest moment of our lives. Not only was there immense comfort in seeing my fictional family so jazzed, there was also comfort in seeing the team enjoy the win as much as I did. In a way, the photo was grounding. It reminded me that every one of the Seattle Mariners are also Mariner fans in some capacity, and they get equally excited about the team doing dope things.
But my absolute favorite part of the this photo is how every Mariner in it conveys genuine happiness for someone else. Sure, a win for the team is good for each individual, and they deserve to be happy about it, but these faces scream “I am ecstatic for Mitch Haniger and the state of the Mariners franchise.” Everyone pictured is sharing the feeling of elation that comes from being part of something bigger than themselves.
It takes a lot to make me cry. This is not me on some hyper-masculine, “emotions are for the weak“ tip. If I can be totally transparent, it comes more from a general feeling of numbness and unshakable apathy toward the world around me. I don‘t consider myself a misanthrope, I consider myself someone who has endured a family tragedy that made most other things feel insignificant by comparison. Knowing how that made me feel was a reminder of how powerful the human experience can be, and how one event can rock that experience to its core.
I’ve had friends, colleagues, and strangers on the internet talk about sports, music, movies, or literature bringing them to tears. While I completely understand everything that goes into that, I can never quite seem to match those feelings. I know that when the Mariners finally break through into the postseason, I’ll be a blubbering mess, like a water balloon bursting after holding all it could muster. But for early-June wins on a Wednesday afternoon broadcast exclusively on Facebook, I can’t quite get there.
I imagine that if this win, Paxton’s no-hitter, the comeback against Detroit, and any other miraculous games combine to push the M’s into the playoffs, their significance will become much more heightened, as will my emotions toward them. In ‘95, I was a literal infant, and in ‘01 I was too young to fully understand what was happening. 2018 shows all the signs of being my first MARINER SEASON, and the first thing to make me cry over sports. If that does happen, you can catch me in October getting this picture framed.
From Félix shouting his demons away, to Ryon Healy’s “can you believe this guy?” disposition, to Nelson Cruz’s commitment to the thumbs-up bit, everything about this photo is art in its purest form. Of course, we are living in an extremely online culture, which means memes are now canonical forms of art.
I see you hiding over there, Benny.
Of course, no picture of cheerfulness is complete without Dee Gordon.
And finally, you ever feel like your ass is in the jackpot? This guy does.
The Mariners are nearly 42 percent of the way through their season, which could mean that they’re nearly 42 percent of the way to a playoff berth. However this season unfolds, I encourage you to laugh, cry, sing, curse, whatever method of expression you prefer. For me, I will mark June 13, 2018 as the date that I saw a vision of undiluted happiness, one goofy walk-off reaction at a time.