Feeble Knees

Friday, December 03, 2004

Crying Over SI

Just when I thought I was completely cried out, laughed out, screamed out and emotionally wrung out over the Red Sox winning the World Series for the first time in eighty-six years, this week's Sports Illustrated arrived in the mail.

For those who haven't grown up in New England or followed the Sox their whole lives, this all seems a bit over the top, I'm sure. It's just a game, people say. But it's so much more than that to us. Going to Fenway Park is a rite of passage around here. You haven't yet lived until you've walked up the cement ramps out of the bowels of the old bandbox to see this gorgeous, sunlit field. The first time I saw Fenway was in that fateful year of 1986. My dad got tickets to an ALCS game against the Angels (we won, YAY). That was the only other year in my 33 years of living that I got to see the Sox in the World Series. Excruciating doesn't come close to describing how that loss in '86 felt.

To get a sense of how urgently and fervently Sox fans were hanging on every pitch this season, there is wonderful reading here in the pages and pages of the infamous Win it For thread over at the SonsOfSamHorn discussion board. One desperate fan started the thread, and before long hundreds of other members added their own hopes and pleas. Soon non-members of the discussion board began begging members to post on their behalf. Thus a legend was born. I've read this entire thread (all 40+ pages of it) and alternately laughed and cried my eyes out. My own tribute is on page 36, where the gentleman who started the thread was kind enough to post for me. My handle is "38sBloodySox" (after #38, Curt Schilling, who is now destined to become the namesake of our unborn children).

When the final out was recorded in the Sox' historic comeback victory over the Yankees in game seven, I cried my eyes out. For a good solid fifteen minutes or so I was hysterical. I wish I could describe that moment to you. I couldn't speak. I could barely look at the TV. Mr. Feeble hugged me so hard I could have snapped in two. And I just cried and cried. All those years of frustration, and the year of depression after Aaron *bleeeping* Boone hit the home run off poor Tim Wakefield in game 7 last year...This made up for every miserable moment. There was no way to describe it. But it was only the beginning. The Sox went on to sweep St. Louis in the Series, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mr. Feeble and I screamed for about fifteen minutes straight when the last out was recorded on October 27, 2004 of the Series. We couldn't sleep all night, we stayed up and watched all the champagne celebrations and the post-game interviews. We called everyone we knew (mind you, it was midnight!) everyone was awake and delirious! The highlight was getting a call from an old friend who was celebrating outside the Riviera Cafe in NYC.

The following morning I drove around three towns trying in vain to get copies of every single paper I could get my hands on. I finally managed to score some second printings of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. I bought multiple copies for my family, especially for my Dad. Dad has the front pages of papers from the moon landing, the day Kennedy was shot, and the big Blizzard of '78. I figured he'd be ecstatic to add this to his collection.

After I got back home I listened to U2's "Beautiful Day" over and over again, bawling my eyes out. It just didn't seem real. All those games. How many have I watched now? I can't count. I try hard to catch most of the 162 game season, either on TV or the radio. I go into a bit of a funk when the season ends. I mark the calendar and yearn for the day when pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Ft. Myers. And I've only been waiting such a short time to see this day. My dad's been waiting since 1936!

We went to The Parade in Boston. We made a special trip to get into the city the night before so we get to the route early. When we got there the next morning, the entire seven mile route was already five people deep. As the Duck vehicles rolled by, some young men in front of us spotted Johnny Pesky, a member of the 1946 World Series team, and they began chanting his name: "Pes-ky! Pes-ky! Pes-ky!" I'll never forget the look on the old man's face so long as I live. Once again, tears flowed freely down my face as I cheered and cheered.

So I thought I'd gotten it all out. Life has returned somewhat to normal, just a much better, sweeter normal. Then SI arrives, with its incredible collage of Sox Fans and Players making up the team logo. Two sentences into the feature article, the tears began flowing again. Then laughter, and more tears. From the other room I heard Mr. Feeble chuckle to himself: "My wife is crying over Sports Illustrated. One could almost hear him utter a prayer of Thanksgiving... :)

I may never get over this. In fact I'm quite sure every time it is mentioned my eyes will get misty as I remember this incredible dream season. We'll be telling our children about the crazy band of Idiots who would never give up, and tried their very best every single day. In this day of steroid use and player/fan brawls, I am so proud that my home town team showed us all once again what true sportsmanship really is, and what it means to be a team.

time to get my tissues out again...
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