Sunday, October 19, 2003

Baptism into Red Sox Nation

I feel as if I'm now fully recovered from the awful Red Sox loss to the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS. I won't rehash the details here. Suffice to say, the loss hurt. To some extent, this loss baptizes me into Red Sox Nation.

Having grown up completely oblivious to sports, I had no allegiance to the home town teams of my youth. Instead of becoming a Yankee fan or a Mets fan, I spent my Jersey City, New Jersey childhood geeking out in front of computers.

In 1986, the year the Red Sox lost the World Series, I was rooting for the other team, the New York Mets. I was a freshman in college, and there were partisans from both New York and Greater Boston. I rooted for the Mets because my youngest brother was rooting for them, and because (hell) I was from the area.

Fast forward five years. I moved to Boston in 1991, and I finally went to see my first professional baseball game in that holiest of destinations, Fenway Park. I knew as soon as I saw that beautiful park that I wanted to know everything about this sport and about this team.

I spent the next few years learning baseball under the tutelage of Boston Globe columnists. I read as much as I could about baseball and the Red Sox. The Red Sox teams of the 1990s were good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to take the final prize.

I learned the cursed lore of the Red Sox, the Babe Ruth trade, Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, and now (sigh) Aaron Boone. However, since 1991, I haven't been emotionally hurt by the team until last Thursday, the final game of this glorious season. I was devasted.

The fog of that loss is receding now. I am starting to take in other sports (so many teams in Boston). I'm starting to think about movies again, and to pick up books that I put down at the beginning of the baseball post season. And, yes, I have tuned into a few innings of the World Series, but I still feel a twinge of bitterness.

I am glad that we have a winter to rest and regroup. There will be time for baseball again next year.

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