Anyone can have a bad century.
-- Walter LaFeber
The eminent historian Walter LaFeber -- author of The American Age: U. S. Foreign Policy At Home and Abroad, from 1750 to the Present, as well as the more recent Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism (Norton) -- turns out to be a diehard Cubs' fan, the experience of which has to have a chastening effect on the mind and heart. The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations Throughout History (1997) won the Bancroft Prize in American History.
The line reminded me of a remark made by Marv Levy, coach of the Buffalo Bills, the team that was always the bridesmaid, never the bride, to use that most curious of all sportscaster's cliches. The Bills would get to the Superbowl and lose it -- not a bad fate, all in all, when you conside the history of teams that have been to the Superbowl once in forty-three years. One week Levy was asked whether the following Sunday's game was "do or die." No, Levy said firmly, putting things in perspective. "D-Day was do or die," he said. Sunday against the Packers or Giants was just another game.