The Ecstasy and Agony of A Red Sox Fan
I am a life-long Boston Red Sox Fan. You may wonder what the Red Sox have to do with writing, but before 2004, when they reversed the curse and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years, they taught me plenty. I learned patience, perseverance, how to hold my chin up after a crushing defeat, and an unflagging optimism that the next game/ series/ season would be different. Finally, it was.
My greatest joy about the 2004 World Series win was that my grandfather lived to see it. He had gone to almost weekly games in a nearly deserted Fenway Park in the 50’s, watching “his” Ted Williams play. He and my aunt were at the World Series Game 6 in 1975 where Carlton Fisk waved the ball fair. He lamented with me when I was a girl after the devastating game 6 loss in 1986. Through it all, he never lost his faith in the Sox or his love of the game. He was the first person I called after the Sox won in 2004 and he was so moved, he was unable to speak.
This year, the Sox are back in the World Series. I never thought to go to a World Series game, and yet I found myself in beautiful Fenway Park on Thursday night. My aunt and I arrived early. Along Yawkey way, it had the feel of a carnival. A man walked around on stilts and a jazz band played. The new blue pennant blew in the breeze, one that I hope will soon be changed into a red World Series flag. Another new addition to the outside of Fenway was a board with all of the beards of the players. I hadn’t realized all the beards had names.
Our seats were fantastic, and I enjoyed watching as the fans trickled in, their excitement and anticipation of the game adding an electric energy. I loved seeing Mariano Rivera, and cheering him as his storied career was honored and celebrated. Then, Red Sox greats from the 2004 World Series emerged from the dugout to throw the first pitch. Jason Varitek, Keith Foulke, Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, Derek Lowe, Mike Timlin, and Pedro Martinez threw out the first pitches with David Ortiz giving them the balls.
James Taylor sang the National Anthem. I loved hearing James Taylor sing and his simple, beautiful version of the Anthem. I remember as a child that everyone used to always sing along with the anthem, but that seems a rare occurrence now. When James Taylor sang in his soft, lyrical voice, everyone joined in.
Each Red Sox player has a clip of music that plays as they come up for their at-bats. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a bit of country played for him. I think David Ortiz’s is reggaeton. The best is Shane Victorino’s choice. He chose music from Bob Marley’s song, “Three Little Birds,” and he won’t step into the batter’s box until the crowd sings to him, “Every little thing’s gonna be all right.” What a great way to start each at bat!
Game Two was filled with highs and lows. The typical ecstasy and then agony that comes with Red Sox Fandom. When Big Papi, David Ortiz, hit his homer in the 6th inning, I leapt to my feet along with everyone else and screamed until I was nearly hoarse. I’ve never been in the park when there was so much energy. Then the agony came with the problematic, error filled seventh inning. The edge of my seat hope that the Sox would again have a come from behind win was dashed and the series was tied at 1-1.
Although the Sox didn’t win game two, I remain optimistic that they will bounce back and I will be able to attend a Red Sox World Series Parade. I know attending a World Series game was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will always treasure the memory of being at Fenway with my aunt to see my Red Sox play in the Fall Classic.