They say that when you grow up in Boston, it’s in your blood. It seeps into your mind, your heart, and your soul. There is no denying it, and there is no cure. In life, you may change jobs, political affiliations, or even genders, but you will always, always be a Boston Red Sox fan.
The Red Sox are an institution in Boston. This is a city that bleeds red in October. It is a city that jams thirty-thousand-plus people into a green concrete box on game days. It is a city that goes crazy when the Sox win, and self-immolates when the Sox lose. If you were walking the streets of Boston today, and asked a stranger about the three happiest moments of his life, the first two would be some variation of the typical answer: when my children were born, owning my first home, the day of my wedding, the day of my divorce, etc. However, the third happiest moment would likely be repeated by most everyone you meet: the “Sawx” winning the 2004 World Series. Seriously: everyone. Or at least 90%.
But even though us Boston fans are undoubtedly consumed by our sports teams, this fanaticism isn’t limited to Massholes. In fact, there are some places that may even be worse. After all, grown men wear dresses and pig snouts to support the Redskins in Washington. Detroit fans help out their basketball team by sucker punching opposing players. And infamous Cubs fan Steve Bartman received death threats before he was forced into hiding… all because he interfered with a foul ball.
Some might think that our country’s infatuation with sports is strange: you have millions of people on the edge of their seats, fixating over an event they can’t control, with participants they don’t really know, in a game they’ve probably never played. Even though we may give ourselves credit for our team’s victory (“during the whole game, I didn’t move my right arm, because the last time I did, Favre threw an interception”)… really, telekinesis has yet to hit NFL playbooks.
So why are we so obsessed? Why do we set aside our Sundays, neglect our work, and force our arms to go numb? Why do we let two-point conversions and last-second threes and outcomes (over which we have no control) impact our mood?
Why do we allow the fate of a foul ball decide how homicidal we want to be today?
Well, what else is there to do? I’d rather watch a baseball game than turn on the news to another bank bailout. I’d prefer to fill out my brackets than pore over my shrinking 401(k). The country needs a diversion right about now, however minor or fleeting it may be. We need sports now more than ever before.
Fortunately, there are some among us who recognize this, and have stepped up to go above and beyond their vocation. To Alex Rodriguez: your recent revelations (of steroid use, of infidelity, of loving yourself a little too much) have not only distracted us from the dire financial crisis, but they have also reinforced all of New England’s fervor for baseball. For as it is with the symbiotic nature of sports, loving the Sox is also about inherently hating the Yankees. And it’s pretty easy to hate on the Yanks these days… I mean, come on: just look in the mirror.
Part of this post was excerpted from a previous post by the same author, from September 17, 2008: “I’m Voting for the Candidate Who Agrees That the Yankees Suck”