Is it too much to ask to be greeted with an elaborate choreographed dance when I get home?
All year, the Nationals have celebrated home runs and good plays with full, team-wide revelry in the small, cramped space of the dugout. Sure, getting hits and driving in runs is just part of the job description of "baseball player," but the Nationals don't care about that. They know that the mundane, everyday things each player does is important. So, when they return to the dugout, joy and dance takes center stage.
Can you imagine if that was what it was like when you unlocked your door and walked inside your home after a long day at work? The joy -- the relief -- you would feel at having accomplished the most basic of your tasks would fill you with such glee, you couldn't help but pick up your feet and dance. Sure, having a puppy at home is kind of like this, as they prance their feet and wag their tail whenever you open the door, but it's not the same as having a full conga line of about 20 people all cheering for your return.
There may even be some science to it. Not only because physical activity and the sheer act of smiling makes people happier, but because brains love habits. They crave them. And so once you get into the habit of arriving home and dancing as a reward for finishing another day, your mind will want it. Each time you do it, you'll be rewarded with that heady mix of mood-improving brain chemicals.
You would think that maybe the Nationals would stop their dance routines when it was World Series time, and the games grew so much more important. After all, with all that pressure, maybe they would be too nervous to dance, too uptight to party, too worried to have a blast.
Just imagine if you worked out something similar with a roommate or significant other. The two of you get home, heavy bags under your eyes from another long day. But before you collapse on the couch and stare at hours of streamed entertainment in between looking at your phone, you break out into dance. You hop, you skip, you slap five and you make loud beeping noises like children pretending to be trucks on the playground.
All of a sudden, a smile breaks out on your face and the day just melts away. It's communal dance therapy as waves of endorphins rush through your body, little smiley faces pumping their way through you like the kids on the "Magic School Bus."
Now, sure, maybe that sounds like a lot of work. Maybe you're not the type person that wants to dance. And I understand that. But the Nats' Michael A. Taylor doesn't seem like that kind of dude either. And yet, when he got himself to dance, he couldn't help but smile.
I want that in my life. Even if I attempt to cocoon myself under a pile of blankets, I want a group a group of cheering, jumping, laughing, drumming friends to gather round and get me to dance.
Perhaps that's the Nationals secret weapon in their series against the fearsome Astros. Talent alone, they're very close. But when every player wants to return to the dugout and be wrapped up in the warm embrace of friendship, what on earth could possibly stop them?
Michael Clair writes about baseball for Cut4. He believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit and Adam Dunn's pitching performance was baseball's greatest moment.