As a kid I yearned to beat my big brother Billy in something -- anything: double solitaire, ping pong, swimming, checkers, Monopoly, even Old Maid. Somehow I always ended up with the bad card. My super ping pong shot flew out of control. And my token invariably landed on each of the properties he owned. Of course, those properties were smothered with hotels.
Even when Billy didn't peek at my cards, I lost.
After a rainy day of defeats, I would whine and blubber to our mother, begging her to intercede, to make him give me a break for a change. The strategy never worked, of course. Punishing him with a handicap only spurred him to find new ways to triumph over his sweet, dutiful, worshipful sister. (I could add more adjectives here, but you get the picture.)
Defeat, at least in childhood, is a great teacher. For example, I discovered that losing to brother Billy was better than being ignored by him. I noticed that suffering a resounding loss sharpened my eagerness to improve my skills. After many bad games in a row, a single victory felt WONDERFUL.
As I've mentioned before in this column, I grew up in a Chicago suburb, and everyone in my family was a serious Cubs fan, Mom being the queen pin. Since the Cubbies clung more or less permanently to the basement of the National League, winning was a surprise.
You could say growing up a Cubs fan taught me to be a good loser. (I do enjoy repeating those words to Miller Park visitors from the Windy City.)
On the Road Blues
This losing on the road thing is, REALLY FRUSTRATING! That sounds pretty silly, considering our great record this year. Most of the season the Brewers have been in first place. And yet...
My husband will tell you that I am not pleasant company after a string of Brewers' losses. It's even more humiliating to stay up late to watching the team lose on the West Coast.
At home the Crew sweeps visiting teams. They battle ten innings and smash their way to a two-out, bottom of the tenth victory. Our pitchers stun batters. Our infield performs astonishing double plays. Our catchers throw out base-stealers. Our impressive batting order smacks balls so quickly out of the park my eyes can't keep up.
My Brewers have the second best record in all the Majors-at home. Everything goes their way-at home. And then they go on the road.
Suggestions for Halting This Annoying Situation (which is not and will not be labeled a jinx):
1. Don't schedule any out-of-town games
2. Have them wear whatever jerseys they think are good luck, even if each player chooses a different color, style, or era
3. Send their wives with them on the road trips
P.S. Just writing this column has helped. The Brewers won two in a row in AZ!!!
Anne Stratton is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.