Who would have thought that one of the longest-standing relationships in my life would be with the Red Sox – those boys of summer who, for decades, came oh-so-close to winning it all?
My first memories of the Red Sox date back to 1967 when my parents were building our house. With the frame complete and flooring in place, a television set took center stage so that we could track the progress of The Impossible Dream season. My heroes that summer included:
- Jim Lonborg
- Mike Andrews
- George Scott
- Reggie Smith
- Carl Yastrzemski
- Dick Williams
Soon enough, they were replaced by Fisk, Lynn, and Rice. I wore my Red Sox heart on my sleeve with a t-shirt that proclaimed: Pitchers Pay the Price When They Face Jim Rice.
Each and every April no matter the make-up of the team, there would be a loss that struck my father as particularly disastrous prompting the annual declaration, “That’s it: the season’s over!” Of course, he’d continue to follow the Sox, only to have his heart broken year after year as that World Series win remained outside the grasp of the Sox. When 2004 brought that sweet victory, my brother placed a 2004 World Champions Banner at my father’s gravesite – I’m sure he loved it!
Last weekend, experiencing a game at Fenway Park in first-row seats transformed my husband and me into 10-year-old kids. We saw every Sox player on deck as they prepared to face Atlanta’s pitching staff:
- Pedroia, the serious one
- Saltalamacchia, apparently unaware anyone else was in the park
- Middlebrooks, undaunted by the pressure of taking the spot of a seasoned veteran
- Ortiz, looking like a kid himself while the pitchers seemed intimidated by his mere presence
Perhaps more exciting than the game itself, each of the two young boys sitting next to us scored a ball from the field – high fives for all! The game began with a rainbow and ended with a Red Sox win. Fans went crazy, staying until the final out – even though the win left our Sox tied for last place. Somewhere I think I heard my father saying, “Wait ‘til next year!”