Friday, September 28, 2007
I became a Red Sox fan on October 16, 1999. Long before this team’s bandwagon got so big it’s embarrassing, I fell in love with Pedro, Nomah, and the Boston Red Sox. At the time, for me, it was an emotional return to the sport of my childhood – a sport I had once loved with every ounce of my being, and a sport I abandoned when the man who taught me the love of the game, my father, died. On my first trip to New England, the magic of the game swept me off my feet and brought me back to a love that my father instilled in me when I was too young to remember. As a child my brother sat me down on my bed and taught me the caps and logos of every major league team. (Montreal was one I had the most trouble with, the weird “M” baseball glove never said “Expos” to me. Thank God they don’t exist anymore.) I was hard core for as long as I can remember. At the point of my New England trip in 99, it had been five years since I had anything to do with the game of baseball. My life was changed in a major way during that trip to Massachusetts. My sister and I spent the day in Boston where everything was abuzz. Clemens and the hated Yankees were coming back to town, and Pedro and the loveable and “always the underdog” Red Sox were hoping to win the Pennant. Since it was the play-offs, we obviously did not have tickets to the game. We got nowhere near Fenway Park; that wasn’t necessary. We arrived back to her home in New Bedford, Mass in time to catch the game on NESN. My sister and I spent that evening watching Pedro stick it to Clemens to a tune of 13-1. I was beyond cloud nine, and I was hooked. I watched the rest of the series, and I cried when the Sox lost sending the Yanks on to beat the Braves in the World Series. I won’t go through the many times I have bawled my eyes out because of the roller coaster ride of being a Red Sox fan. ESPN has chronicled it enough, and Fever Pitch took all of it out of the sports world and brought it into American pop culture. October 27, 2004 (ironically enough the night before my father’s death date) is by far the greatest moment for every Red Sox fan, and it’s no different for me. However, tonight was not far behind. For the first time in my tenure as a Red Sox fan, my team has beaten the Yankees to win the American League East Division Title! When the Red Sox game finished with a win, the Yankees were leading the Orioles by three with two innings to go. When Mariano came in to pitch the ninth, the Os were still down by three. I figured that my Sox would have to wait another day to clinch the division. Then out of nowhere, Rivera blows the save and the Os tie it in the ninth. The Os have a runner on first with one out. The reliever loads the bases with intentional walks, and a sacrifice bunt brings in the winning run for the Os securing the Red Sox as the winner of the division. And all over the world, Red Sox nation went freaking nuts! Fenway Park, watching the Yanks/Os game on the jumbotron, errupts in a mixture of disbelief and pure elation! I think I may be evicted from my apartment for being too noisy. My neighbors were just privy to screaming, yelling, clapping, and wahooing. The season isn’t over, and the playoffs haven’t even started. I’m a far way from fully celebrating. However, I relish this night – this moment. It feels good to break another curse – the curse of losing the division every year since 1995. Tomorrow is another game; there are still eleven playoff games to win before the season is over. For tonight, I’ll rest in peace. A Division flag will be raised next year at Fenway. Well done, Red Sox, well done!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
As you may well know (or have figured out from a previous post), Christmas is my favorite time of the year. As a teacher, I get a full month off to spend time with my family and those friends that I don't see as often as I wish. Fireplaces are all alit with roaring fires (or candles at my mama's house -- we're all too allergic to have a real fire!). I realize it's not even October, but Christmas requires a good bit of preparation. One thing I love to do is send out Christmas cards. As a graduate student, I can't always afford to send them out, but when I can -- I love it. I am a huge fan of snail mail in all forms. There's something about Christmas cards. As I write the names of those friends that I love dearly but haven't seen in a few years, I remember mini-stories about out friendship. As I place the card in the envelope and seal it, I send a little prayer up for them and heartfelt good wishes. I was reminded of Christmas cards this afternoon when I received an email about ordering them. I used to work at A Printed Affair in Jackson, and for some time that's where I bought my Christmas cards. However, over the last few years my venue has changed. As a die-hard Red Sox fan, I've become quite familiar with the Jimmy Fund and the work of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After a Red Sox trip to Boston, I decided to order my Christmas cards from Dana-Farber. All proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund, and many of the cards are drawn or designed by the cancer patients. A part of my heart lives in this children's hospital in which I've never stepped foot. I have, however, stepped foot into St. Jude's in Memphis. St. Jude also sells Christmas cards designed by their patients. Many local children's hospitals do things such as this as well. I'm not asking you to break your budget buying things you will never use, but I do want to ask you to consider these venues when you are considering your Christmas card purchases. Instead of benefitting the retail sector of you town, consider benefiting a greater cause. Not only do your friends receive a beautiful card filled with your love, but you can provide hope to millions of children.