Friday, June 5, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ Love & Passion...


Love & Passion:

where previously Molly created a spectacle of herself at Fenway at a work outing

As I began a fresh start with Local Roomie in Arlington I began a different relationship with my future husband as we took our four year friendship in a new direction called dating. One of our first dates was a Sox game at Fenway. We rode the T in from his Newton apartment and had great seats in Left Field practically up against the Green Monster. I have sat in almost all possible sections of Fenway and that section ranks right up there with my favorites. The only thing you can’t see is a play in the left field corner in the miniscule foul territory. Other than that, it is an awesome perspective of the field and the action. We had a great date – no messing around with trying to fit in dinner at Uno’s beforehand and missing the first inning as occurred with my first date to Fenway Park. Dinner this time was peanuts from the vendors outside, Fenway Franks and brewskies to wash them down while taking in every pitch on a glorious fall evening. I became as hooked on our new relationship as I was on the Sox.

As the seasons came and went our relationship endured and eventually we moved into an apartment together. A strong memory from our time there is of the Sox home opener our first Spring there that began with quite a bang! It was an afternoon game during the week. I had been listening to the game on the radio at work and as I drove home the Sox appeared to be in dire straights. They were down by three going into the bottom of the ninth. Yet, one by one, each of the first three batters got on base safely. I pulled in to our driveway and ran up the stairs to join Andy on the couch to watch Big Mo Vaughn come to the plate and smash a Grand Slam to win the game! It was a great moment, and also the most optimistic I ever saw Andy about the Sox to begin a season.

I can accurately quote Andy as having said, upon the first pitch of the first Sox game of one season - that was called a ball: “They’re All Done.” I believe he always thought that I wasted a lot of my time and emotional energy in rooting for this team. He, as someone born and bred a Sox fan, had it ingrained in his mind that they would always let you down and would never win the World Series again. I, as someone picking them as my team of choice as an adult, was not so afflicted. I would exude optimism about their potential and the possibilities in their reach. Yet each year he would come around. I would then accuse him of jumping on the Sox bandwagon and not sticking with the team through thick and thin. He thought I was nuts because my optimism hadn’t gotten them any further since I came aboard. He felt he was not pessimistic, but rather, a realist. I told him that that kind of thinking wouldn't help his team get anywhere. I often played the role of the fool in these parts. But it didn’t keep me from sticking to my guns and in the end, I was rewarded for it. And our differing perspectives on the Sox didn't keep our love for each other from growing.

What I could not (and still don't) understand at all was his complete optimism towards the Bruins. Every year he rallies around the B’s and every year he fully believes that they will bring home the Cup to Boston. Every year they lose in the early rounds of the playoffs – something half of the total teams in the NHL actually take part in – and every year he completely believes they will prevail. How, I would ask him, could he reserve such complete and unbridled optimism for the B’s and such complete and unbridled pessimism for the Sox?! In his lifetime, the B’s won the Cup but he was only 2 years old. He has no memory of that victory other than the autographed Bobby Orr picture we have framed in our home. The only experience he has ever had with the B’s is hope and futility. To me, this did not seem that different from the history he was experiencing with the Sox at the time. Why did each team elicit such opposite faith when the end results had been the same? He never did have an answer for me.

I was able to overlook that weakness in part because of the free Sox tickets Andy received every now and then through work. One such occassion it was a gorgeous summer weekend game and we had two extra tickets to fill. My brother – recently a resident of the neighborhood around Fenway Park – had chided me for not thinking of him for extra Sox tickets. So when these landed in Andy's lap I gave my brother a call. I asked if he had a friend that could use the other ticket and he said he knew someone that would take the ticket no problem. This was a Yankees vs. Sox game. Kenmore was overflowing with activity. It is here that I met my future sister-in-law.

She is from NYC. She had never been a Yankees fan – preferred the Mets. I was torn – which is worse? However, when I asked about her football allegiance and found out she was a Giants fan it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She had not yet become a turncoat rooting for the Sox, but she did root for them that day – only changing sides to cheer for Paul O’Neil. The only Yankees I have ever been willing to cheer for were Paul O’Neil and Bernie Williams so she and I got along without incident.

My brother met his future wife on the T. A broken down T car led to waiting for a bus that led to a conversation that led to a perfect partnership. For whatever reason she saw something tempting in getting to know more about him even though she was in another relationship at the time. My future sister-in-law had moved to Boston from NYC and was quickly sucked in to the Sox draw just as I was many years before her. She is my Sox soul mate because she too chose this team as an adult. It wasn’t until she moved to Boston that the Sox draw overtook all previous NY allegiances. She now proudly and defiantly walks throughout NYC where she again lives, with a Sox hat on her head, taking on everything the Yankees fans dish out. That, is true love.

next week, THE HALL, where Molly proves she is the best future wife ever by spending her birthday get-away with Andy at Cooperstown...

1 comment:

Sandy Nawrot said...

That is so sweet! Love was in the air. I've been waiting for the appearance of Andy in these stories. I love the stories of your youth, but something just seems missing if Andy isn't around!