The Little Green Monster In Me

I have a secret.  I’ve been really selective about who I share it with up until now; a handful of people who I think won’t make fun of me or hate me because of it…. and boy do people in my neck of the woods HATE people like me.  I’ve let my secret slip out once or twice, and suffered the dagger-like glares that were shot in my direction.  Thankfully, there were no pitchforks or torches within reach, otherwise I might’ve been driven out of town, and back up north where they think I belong.

But enough is enough.  I’ve carried around this secret for nearly a decade and I just can’t stay silent any longer.  So here goes (deep breath)….

Hi, my name is Linda, I live in New York and I’m a Boston Red Sox fan.

Whew!!  Damn that felt good to get off my chest!!  But I’m sure my sense of relief will wear off the moment one of my fellow New Yorkers reads this and calls me a traitorous asshole.

This is how New Yorkers react when you cut them in line at Starbucks…. Imagine what they’d do to a Red Sox fan.

This is how New Yorkers react when you cut them in line at Starbucks….
Imagine what they’d do to a Red Sox fan.

You might wonder how a girl who grew up in New York became a Red Sox fan.  I’ve wondered the same thing myself, and have found that there’s no clear-cut answer.  The best I can do is trace the start of my Red Sox love affair back to 2004 – the year the Red Sox broke the curse of the Bambino and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years….

My husband, Kevin, was watching the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Red Sox on TV.  The Red Sox were down 0-3 games – in the history of baseball, no team had ever come back from such a deficit before.  Kevin was distraught because as a Mets fan, he’d developed a deep and abiding hatred for the Yankees and their penchant for crushing the hopes and dreams of the underdogs.  He had witnessed them win the World Series six times in his lifetime alone, and with each victory, Kevin lost another piece of his soul.

I didn’t pay much attention to the games at first – I’m not a sports fan.  At all.  It would probably take me years to notice if all professional sports ceased to exist; my only tip off would be the lost puppy-dog look on my husband’s face when he turned on ESPN and found retired sports announcers making paper airplanes out of old cue cards.  But when the Red Sox started to fight against the Yankee’s momentum, and blatantly refused to give in to the defeat that the rest of the world assumed was an absolute certainty, my curiosity was piqued.

Kevin and I watched the rest of the series, and my excitement grew with every victory the Red Sox managed to rack up – it hit a fever pitch in game seven when they defeated the Yankees on their own turf 10-3 and won the series.  While my neighbors mourned the loss of their beloved Yankees, my husband and I drew the curtains closed and danced around like the munchkins after Dorothy killed the wicked witch of the west.  Ding dong, the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low…. 

The REAL miracle is that I actually gave a shit!!

The REAL miracle was that I actually gave a shit!!

The next day, my fellow New Yorkers wanted to commiserate and swap sob stories about where we were when the Yankees tragically lost the championship series.  I had to pretend to be just as miserable as they were because I knew my own happiness over the Red Sox’s victory would’ve been like pouring salt into their very fresh wound.  Also, I didn’t have a death wish.

That’s the day my secret was born.

My love for the Red Sox grew even more in 2006, when my husband and I decided to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary up in Boston.  I was able to let my freaky Red Sox flag fly for the first time; although up there, I wasn’t freaky at all.  I was no longer in the secretive minority – everywhere I looked, someone was wearing Red Sox paraphernalia.  I wasted no time joining the ranks.  I jumped into the Yawkey Way store right near Fenway Park and bought my very first Red Sox t-shirt.

And as I put on the shirt, the clouds parted, and God gave me the thumbs up

And as I put on the shirt, the clouds parted, and God gave me the thumbs up.

If you haven’t seen a baseball game at Fenway Park, you’re missing out on something special.  The fans in that park aren’t just spectators; they become as much a part of the game as the Green Monster and the players that guard it.  There is an electricity in the air that excites you and forces you up out of your seat.  And if the electricity doesn’t get you on your feet, their 1912-starving-Irish-immigrant-sized seats might.  Seriously, those seats are TINY – padded asses of the world, consider yourself warned.

Seats not designed for the modern-day carbaholic.

Seats not designed for the modern-day carbaholic.

Before I even became conscious of my own involvement, I was on my feet, cheering and exchanging high-fives with total strangers.  New Yorkers don’t even talk to strangers, much less make unnecessary bodily contact with them.  And we sure as hell don’t shamelessly sing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of our lungs (which I totally did during the seventh inning stretch).  I think Fenway Park might be the last official bastion where Neil Diamond still fucking rocks!!

After our amazing celebratory weekend in Boston, it was time to return home, back to the land where Red Sox fans are despised more than people who walk too slow on the sidewalk or invade the 6-foot personal space bubble.  Within the first few weeks of returning, I got really bold on a couple of occasions and wore my Red Sox t-shirt out in public – bravest thing I did since the day I went into labor and waited seven hours to get an epidural.

I felt like a rebel…. for the first few hours.  Then the overwhelming majority of Yankee fans started to wear me down with their snide comments and indignant stares; the most memorable reaction came from a post office employee that said, “I’d like to help you, but you’re wearing a Red Sox shirt.”  I was going to tell her that I was equally offended by her unflattering polyester uniform, but propriety warned me that a postal worker who was also a devout Yankee fan was a dangerous combo – I decided it wasn’t worth getting stabbed with a letter opener, so I walked out.

But despite being treated like a social leper for the last decade, I have remained true to the Red Sox – to this day they continue to be the only professional sports team that I give a damn about.  Kevin and I have been back to Fenway Park a couple more times since 2006, and with each trip, my allegiance grows stronger.   I will be cheering them on during this year’s American League Championship series just like I did back in 2004…. except this year, the curtains will be WIDE open.

Derek Jeter’s got nothing on Wally the Green Monster.

Derek Jeter’s got nothing on Wally the Green Monster.

 

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13 thoughts on “The Little Green Monster In Me

  1. Believe it or not Linda there are a lot of Red Sox fans here in Albany… and we are still in New York (even though most of LI does not realize that) So this is not much of a secret to me. I was hoping for something a bit more juicy 🙂 Come visit me sometime and you will feel just fine being a New Yorker (yes, we do consider ourselves New Yorkers) AND a Red Sox fan… Even if I do not understand it 😉

    • Debbie –

      We LIers and 5-bourough dwellers do recognize all you upstaters as real New Yorkers… just a different breed. I think all the fresh air and elbow room you have up there makes you all less ornery and pitchforky than we are. You’re also almost two hours closer (by car) to Boston than we are, which gives you about 150 miles worth of buffer zone between you and the Yankees. I’m jealous.

      Linda

  2. Your solution is easy. You need to move to Noonegivesacrapistan where you can wear you Red Sox shirt and I can wear my Packers cheesehead hat with pride! (Yes, I really do have a cheesehead hat)

    • Moe –

      Okay, the next time we get together, you’re going to wear your cheesehead hat, I’ll wear my Red Sox shirt, and we’ll give the middle finger to the states of NY and PA simultaneously. And then run…..

      XO
      Linda

  3. The Philosopher-King of my generation summed this up very well for me:

    “Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify. Because the players are always changing, the team could move to another city…you’re actually rooting for the clothes, when you get right down to it. You’re standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player, but if he goes to another team, they’ll boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt, they hate him now! Boo! Different shirt! Boo…”

    — Jerry Seinfeld

    • David –

      I’m going to skip right past the idea of Jerry Seinfeld being considered a “philosopher king” (because I hope you were being sarcastic) and get to his quote….

      I think the reason people boo for players that get traded to other teams is because the fans feel betrayed – even though the player doesn’t always control how/when they’re traded. Case and point: When Johnny Damon shaved his beautiful man-beard, stopped playing for the Boston Red Sox and joined the New York Yankees, he jumped to the top of Boston’s shit list because they saw him as a traitor and a sellout. Which he kinda was.

      So, I guess fans expect players to be as faithful to the their favorite team as they are, and when the players aren’t, that’s when the torches and pitchforks come out.

      Linda

      • The Green Bay Packers are the only community owned franchise in the NFL. I love them for their business plan… they change that and I’m outta there! (no I’m not… Aaron Rodgers is a cutie pants… and Mason Crosby gives the boy hope since he played soccer for most of high school)… and neither of you know what I’m talking about…

        • Moe –

          No I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I’d be willing to learn more about them because anyone who you would refer to as a “cutie pants” deserves a closer look.

          Linda

  4. I feel your pain. I used to be a Montreal Canadiens (that’s hockey for all you non Canadians) fan living in Toronto where the Maple Leafs (that’s not really hockey) are King. Some really dumb Leaf fans drive to Montreal for games where their Ontario license plates stick out more than a wine drinker on St. Paddy’s day. Suffice to say that their cars return home with significantly more damage than they came with. Really. Canadians may be nice but we are real bastards about our hockey.

    • Hey Bels!

      I know you Canadians are as serious about hockey as Italians/Brazilians are about Football (soccer) – that is to say, you’d cut a bitch if they were to show any affiliation with the opposing team. You “serious” fans scare the shit out of me because you make avid Yankee fans look like a basket full of declawed kittens.

      Linda

  5. At least you chose a team that wins on occasion, I am a lifelong Detroit Lions fan and they don’t have a Superbowl win (or even appearance) anywhere in their future.

    • Okay, you’re going to have to forgive me because as I said in my blog entry, I’m completely blind/deaf/dumb to all other sports and teams besides the Red Sox. So just to clarify things, the Detroit Lions are a…. football team? I’m guessing that because you said Superbowl, and I’m pretty sure that’s a football thing…. right? I should just google this shit because I’m just embarrassing myself….

      I guess I am lucky that the Red Sox have managed to secure two world series wins since I’ve become a fan – and they’ve got another shot at the title starting tonight!! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their luck started to turn around when I became a fan. I think they should hire me as their team’s lucky rabbit’s foot. It would give them something else to rub besides those shaggy beards of theirs 🙂

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