Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Until You've Lived It, You Can't Explain It...........


Last year I had the pleasure of going back home to Boston to watch my beloved Titans play the Patriots in Foxboro during the regular season. It was a spectacular game, coming down to the last few minutes, with both McNair and Brady dueling it out. I also was with three really good friends making it all that much more enjoyable.

However, during this trip, the Boston Red Sox were about halfway through their playoff series with the Oakland A's. I attempted to warn two of my friends who had never truly experienced the heartbreak that comes with being a Sox fan from getting too excited about the Bosox, because they will only break your heart. Besides maybe the '99 series against the Yankees, I had pretty much sworn off the Sox since '86 for fear of getting another heart attack, sort of like deleting a phone number from your cell phone so you won't call that girl that likes to use you and spit you out when she'd done. It just not worth it. Let it go and all that.

What happened instead? I got caught up in Bosox fever like a snowflake in an avalanche, and my Bosox blod flowed through my veins. While we were at the Titans/Pats game, they displayed replays of the Red Sox/A's highlights during each time out. At one point a penalty was called against the Pats, but the crowd erupted because the game winner for the Sox came up on the screen. Folks listening at home must have been mystified. During most of the football game, we were generally harassed by Pats fans because of our Titans attire, but once we let on that we were Boston native Red Sox fans, we became like brothers in arms. It was truly a sight to see.

We had decided to stay an few extra days after the game to show our friends around Boston, we had the oppurtunity to experience the fever that takes over Boston during Red Sox playoff games. We got to watch the final game against the A's in Copley Square, with the Sox winning in their usual nail biting fashion. This was followed by spilling out to Newbury street and starting a near riot with fellow Bosox fans, chanting in unison, "YANKEES SUCK!!!". A glorious moment that.

Of course, most of you may know who last year ended. Red Sox lose in regular heart break fashion to the hated Bronx Bombers in game seven. That whole sinking feeling rushing over you like a wave started again.

So here we are again, looking at yet another Bosox playoff run, which appears as though our World Series hopes will once again have to go through the Evil Empire. Bill Simmons, the Sportsguy, has written a column that may explain this whole Bosox sado-masochism a bit further and is well worth the read.

Pledge Allegiance To Red Sox Nation

Here are some relevant excerpts that hit the nail on the head....

You couldn't ask for a more insane week. Now they're only two and a half behind the Yanks. Who knows? And yet, with October looming... I mean ...

I'm just not sure that I'm ready to go through this again.

Nobody is. And that's the rub. It's the best Red Sox team of my lifetime, a well-rounded machine with quality pitchers and big bats, a good defensive squad with a deep bench, a likable group of guys who care about one another. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, a clean slate with a fan base that won't panic every time something goes wrong. It's just that we can't help it. Last October nearly broke us. You can only heal so much.

Maybe enough time hasn't passed yet. I still remember everything about last October, those twelve playoff games unfolding like rounds in a classic boxing match, so many twists and turns that even Harold Lederman couldn't have scored it. I still remember the minutes and hours after that fateful Game 7 in the Bronx, when I called Dad just to make sure he was still breathing. I still remember the following afternoon, when everything hit me at once -- the residual emotions of the past three weeks swelling up like a killer wave, knocking me right on my back -- and I actually had to leave work early. It was too much. Baseball shouldn't mean this much.

A few months passed. I thought I was okay. Last Friday brought everything back. This isn't about a curse, it's about baggage, the way an accumulation of experiences alters your innate reactions. Like every Red Sox fan, I have baggage. Tons of it. Now we're heading into October with another dicey manager. My guard is up. I can't help it. At the same time, I'm going to spend my entire afternoon monitoring that Yankees doubleheader against Minnesota today. Because you never know.

Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. I don't want to go through this again. I can't live without it. I'm not sure I can handle it. I couldn't imagine any other way.

And if none of this makes sense ... well, you obviously aren't a Red Sox fan.

I didn't really want to say this, but it's about time to COWBOY UP yet again......will we ever learn? Or will we finally reach the promised land?

Stay tuned....

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