The Red Sox? Our status is: “It’s complicated.”
If the Red Sox had a facebook page… our relationship would read “It’s complicated.”
But it’s still a relationship. And one I can’t quit.
I have had a longstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox since 1984. The ninth months before that don’t count, right (despite the fact that my parents were probably loud enough to be heard from space, let alone the womb)?
I learned the f-bomb in 1986. I remember my dad’s face was bright red. And I wasn’t sure what was going on. And I remember nothing else until like 1989. But I remember the f-word. Oh, yes I do.
Bucky Dent taught me heartbreak.
1999 taught me to never let them see you cry, and was also the inspiration behind one of the greatest talks I ever had with my grandfather, who passed away when I was 17. It taught me skepticism, a skill that made 2004 better than anything I could have imagined.
Grady Little helped me perfect the art of the eye roll.
2004 taught me hope.
Kevin Youkilis. Oh, Kevin Youkilis.
Johnny Damon taught me bitterness.
We have had better seasons. We have had better rotations. But this season, for its ups and downs, seems to follow my non-Sox life in a really bizarre way. I feel more connected than I was last year, even the year before. I’m taking this one personally. Too personally, apparently. Because games manage to not just irritate me, but piss me off in a ruin-your-day kind of capacity. It’s scary, really, as I have been told by… oh… everyone.
Tonight, it’s Tampa.
Tomorrow, the world.
That’s how it should feel to a “supah fan.”
But, thanks to shoddy rotation organization (Curt Young), injuries (let’s blame Curt Young for that too) and ridiculous press coverage (think about where we were in April before you mouth off about a loss, ESPN. Hell. I’m going to blame Curt Young AGAIN), it feels like a scramble. Like we’re fighting for our lives, not just a wild card slot. Like our nails are going to be found in the inside lid of a coffin. That kind of life struggle. Epic proportions. We’re not Clint Eastwood anymore. We’re Odysseus, just fighting to make it past Poseidon. Just fighting to make it back home where things make sense.
So yes, it’s melodramatic. Yes, us “supah fans” (who came up with that, anyway? Because I don’t feel very super) are taking it too seriously with our ancient Greek references and our knees in the sand, fist-shaking at the skies (other people do that too, right?). But I don’t see melodrama as a negative.
Fandom isn’t just about the sport. It’s about a sense of identity. Something that connects us to history, both our own and our families’. For those of us who are no longer in the Boston viewing area, it connects us to a place that, without the Sox, would just be a footnote and not a present part of us. And, especially when you’re completely alone in a city that’s not always friendly, with a job whose stresses define the very word “frustrating,” and sort-of-not-really-but-enough-to-add-to-your-stress relationships with guys who come back from the dead and/or have weird earrings, you need something to connect you to something else. Anything else.
People have tv shows. People have train collecting hobbies. People have obsessions with “The Big Lebowski” and Oprah reruns. I know a strange guy who collects dolls and lines them up in his hallway so that they look at you when you walk in the room. This is what I have. And sure, it’s irrational. And sure it’s dramatic (hello, I WAS a theatre major). But it’s real. And people who trivialize and claim that obsession=insanity are hypocrites. At least I hope you’re hypocrites. Because if you don’t have something that connects you to people in a passionate way- something you can feel this way about… well, then I feel sorry for you. Because that’s not “supah” at all. That’s just sad. And it could be worse. I could be on heroin.
And I mean it. Really. Go Sox. Because we’ve got to start going, guys. Or we’re just going to… stop. And do you REALLY want to watch Johnny Damon in OUR World Series?
So what, pray tell Soxies, have YOU learned from the Sox? And how do you tell the haters to shove it when they call YOU obsessed? Really. Because I’m losing my creativity. I just say, “shove it.”