Saturday, November 06, 2004

Dodging Defeat

My newfound affinity for the Red Sox was born, but did little more than simmer for the next 20 years. I had missed the heartbreak of the 1975 World Series, when the Reds beat the Red Sox despite Carlton Fisk's never-to-be-forgotten walkoff homer in Game 6. (I bitterly remembered it, however, because I'd rooted for the Reds out of spite. My friend Jimmy and I argued about the Red Sox and, being ten years old, I figured the best way to get back at him was to hope for his team to lose. Ah, youth.)

The eighties brought my turbulent high school and early college years. By the time the Red Sox made it to another World Series in 1986, I was struggling to find both a job and a place to live. I remember rooting for them in a distant way, and being disgusted when they lost, but I can't honestly say that my heart was broken or that I shared in the abiding frustration of true Sox fans. I was nothing more than an onlooker; a person who affliated myself with the Red Sox but who didn't invest any serious time into watching or supporting the team. I didn't even have a hat. How lame is that?

My interest began to bloom in the late 90's. My wife and I were married in 1994, and she was also a Red Sox fan with a level of commitment similar to mine—happy if they won, sorry if they lost, but that's about as far as it went. We had visited Boston many times while we were dating and after we were married, but we'd never been to a baseball game at Fenway Park. When I heard that there were plans to demolish the park and build a new one, I decided I had to see a game there before it was gone forever. (And by the way, I couldn't be more thrilled that those demolition plans never came to fruition...the current owners have shown a refreshing appreciation for the history and importance of the park.)

We bought our tickets and stepped through the gates, and it was every bit as wonderful as I'd imagined. What an incredible place to see a ballgame! We were sitting in deep right field, up in the grandstands, but the view was terrific. The Sox beat the Seattle Mariners that day, and my Red Sox fandom began a growth spurt that hasn't stopped to this day.


Post a Comment

<< Home