So true. As a broadcaster on LA-area sports talk used to say in the '80's, "In life sports is, after all, only the toy department." Proper toys properly used can help build character too, as you point out.
We are by nature greedy. Whatever good thing we get, we migh be initially thankful, but we also tend to "bank it" as something we expect going forward in life, and when things don't measure up to a former experience we so easily grow frustrated and disillusioned, even bitter.
When I was eleven years old I had no idea how lucky I'd been. In 1963 my local MLB team the Dodgers had won the World Series in '63, again in '65, and in '66 went to the World Series a third time in four years, this time losing to the Baltimore Orioles. To me the world had come to an end because they didn't win it again. The ensuing years were painful for this spoiled Dodgers fan. I had no idea the next time they would go to a World Series I would be 19 years old. And they would lose it again, this time to the mustachoed Oakland A's. I didn't realize that at the ages of 22 and 23 they'd go two more times...and lose both to the hated Yankees! I'd wait until the age of 26 before the went again, and somehow they beat those *&)!~ Yankees.
It was 7 more years before the Dodgers went to the Series again, but in May of the 1988 season we moved to the Portland are. I watched them upset the heavily favored Bash Brothers from our house in Vancouver, WA. By 1995, my Dodgers passions had subsided, due to them no longer being local, but also because I hated that the O'Malley family had sold the team to corporate buyers. We happened to move to Seattle that year, and I got totally caught up the exciting finish to that first Mariners playoff season. As the team assembled an incredible stock of premium talent over the next few years, I though surely they would go to a World Series. But they never did. And since 2001 they haven't reached the playoffs a single time.
I do grow frustrated with the Seattle Mariners, more and more every futile year. All you have to do is pull up the Dodgers' Baseball-Reference franchise page, look at the years 1963-1988, then compare it to the Mariners page, 1995-the present. It's understandable.
But you're absolutely right that it is a tragically ruinous thing to let frustration, disappointment or hardship turn to bitterness (Heb 12:15).
If the M's DO get to the playoffs, then we won't be satisfied until they get to the World Series. If they achieve that we won't be satisfied until they win one. And then we'll expect THAT every year. It's the stuff we're made of, so we must learn to deal with it.
I confess I have reflected over these past fifteen years that I may never see my team reach the playoffs again, much less the World Series. Only a few electric shocks in January kept this from being the case. I really want to see them at least go to the World Series in my lifetime. As a baseball fan who lived with a franchise that routinely made the postseason, the Mariners under the Bavasi and Zduriencik regimes were torturous to live through.
Jerry, please get this man his wish. But if you don't, life will go on, and baseball will still be baseball, the toy department. I can live with just the joy of the Lord, my wife, out kids, and our grandchildren. Sometimes along with the joy there's stuff even with family that is hard to endure, but at least it doesn't depend on what some guy in suit at Safeco Field does.