Monday, May 3, 2010

The Boston Red Sox. All is forgiven. I'm letting go of 2007.

The Boston Red Sox. I always kind of liked them. Not as much as my Colorado Rockies of course, or even the Chicago Cubs, but I cheered for them. They were the hard luck losers. Not bad enough to miss the playoffs continually, but not good enough to avoid the soul-crushing defeats every postseason. Being a Red Sox fan was a form of masochism, hard to do unless you enjoyed getting your heart stomped on every October.

Then, it happened. One of the most magical postseason runs I can remember in almost any sport. I had just been laid off from a job I had enjoyed for 4 years, and was feeling a bit like the Red Sox, crushed and defeated. But it gave me time to follow their run through the playoffs, and I even found myself identifying with them. When they fell down into a three games to zero hole to the Yankees in 2004, I was watching at a sports bar with a buddy trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

Then it happened. Down to their last gasp, somehow Boston rallied. A Dave Roberts steal opened the flood gates of the improbable, nay, impossible. Four of the most amazing baseball games I've ever experienced had me rooting as if I were raised in Cambridge instead of Colorado. I was so on board with Red Sox nation, I wanted them to win it, and I was emotionally invested. I was as close as you could be to being a Red Sox fan without actually being a Red Sox fan. When they won the World Series in a sweep against the Cardinals, I was jumping for joy. I set a Red Sox screensaver on my computer, and even contemplated buying something in Red Sox Blue and Red to commemorate the good feeling of a team rising from the dead, much as I hoped my career would rise from the dead.

Flash forward to three years equally improbable if infinitely less romantic baseball team from my home town went on an insane run to make the playoffs, and sweep through the National League playoffs to make the World Series. It was glorious, and I was so happy that MY team was poised to win a championship. Enter the team that three years previously had won my heart...and I watched them stomp on it and hand it back back to me in a crumpled heap.

It started with a 15-1 massacre in Boston, and then a blur of Red Sox victories which ended my Rockies run in 4 games, as I held a ticket to a Game 5 at Coors Field that would never happen. I now hated the Red Sox. A team that had brought me baseball joy had denied my team a championship, and didn't even have the decency to lose once so that I could attend a World Series. I decided the Sox were dead to me. It hurt to much to see that Red B on a navy blue cap. I was bitter, I was mad, and I hated them.

Fast forward another 3 years now...My wife and I are about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. We are celebrating by a trip to Boston. I had always wanted to see Fenway, and we were able to get a couple of Grandstand tickets from a ticket website. Now, I was faced with a dilemma. Would I cheer for the Sox and enjoy the feeling of being with the crowd, cheer for the Oakland A's...a team for which I had no affinity, or just watch as a passive observer.

My original plan was to just watch as an observer, but looking at pictures of Fenway, seeing the passion of Sox fans, and knowing that I was going to be in Boston. I made a decision. I am forgiving the Red Sox. I didn't want to, but the thought of going to Boston and rooting against them just didn't make sense to me. I decided to let go of the pain. I'm still a Rockies fan, and I'll forever be sad that the Sox took down my boys, but I am not going to hold on to the hate. Next month, I will sit in the stands of Fenway Park, look out at the Green Monster, and cheer my lungs out for the Sox. I even bought a Sox hat on clearance at Lids. 3 years is enough. Plus, it's always more fun to root root root for the home team! Go Sox!

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