The Trouble With Optimism and Why We Still Need It
Keeping hope for the best in worst of times.
I have a long history of expecting the worst.
There’s a danger in using one’s personal fandoms as a proxy for a personality, but a non-zero part of my worldview can be attributed to growing up in the dark shadow of Cleveland professional sports teams. You can deride sports as a frivolity, but there are important lessons that it can teach young people—lessons about hard work, putting team before self, dealing with adversity, sportsmanship and so on. For me, being a Cleveland sports fan meant that from a very young age, I was forced to understand that the worst possible outcome was almost certainly the most likely one.
An opposing quarterback engineers a surgical, lightning-quick drive down the length of the field to steal victory from us. A sure trip to the Super Bowl is lost when a running back fumbles just shy of the goal line. A historically-dominant closing pitcher gives up a lead with a long-awaited World Series championship only two outs away. Even in my hometown’s greatest moment…