Friday, October 16, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ The Effect...


The Effect:

where previously Molly reveled in a World Series victory in Boston..

Much was made about what would happen to Red Sox Nation if the team actually ever won a World Series in the modern era. The media put a spin on it that if the Sox won, the fans' tough love approach toward the team would go soft and any shortcomings would forever be forgiven, if not overlooked outright.

So when they won, what happened? Well, as for the team - they got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the White Sox, then they missed the playoffs entirely. They rebounded and won the World Series again, then they missed another World Series appearance by losing a Game 7 ALCS game to the Rays, and they got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Angels. Some good, some bad and some ugly. The fans seem to bounce back a little more quickly than before. But their spirit is still feisty.

Put it this way. You always remember your first kiss, your first true love, right? It holds a special place in your heart. Nothing else after is ever quite the same. You look back on it with tender memories and wish you could bottle that feeling and pull it out whenever you were sad. But just because it was extra special doesn't mean you don't ever want any more smooches, or to fall in love again. What you want is to try to replicate that experience, build upon it, make it better. You don't sit there satisfied that at least you've been kissed before. That at least you've known love. You don't wipe your hands clean of the matter and wish for nothing but lonely days with kisses only from your pet. You hope for true love again and kisses that curl your toes and melt your heart.

So why on earth would anyone think that a fandom with so much emotion invested in their team would be satisfied with a highly anticipated championship? I loved that 2004 victory. Just as I loved the Patriot's first Super Bowl victory in 2001. I have watched those championships over and over and the emotions have never dulled. And so I want to capture that essence every year. I loved their next World Series victory in 2007 over the Rockies. A different cast of characters creating their own legends in the sport. New faces to root for and celebrate. Another parade. Not the same as 2004, but still a rush of joy.

And that is why, last weekend, as Sox Closer Jonathan Papelbon - who had been the star of their 2007 season - was falling apart on the mound in a do or die Game 3 against the Angels I left the room. My stomach churned in knots. I felt like I could possibly become ill if I sat and watched the nightmare evolve. Because I devoted my time during the entire season to watching the games I knew that Papelbon wasn't the lock he'd been 2 years prior. I knew that he had turned into a heart attack Closer - with stats that looked great on paper but never resulted in an easy save. So I knew what was coming and therefore I left the room and listened to the broadcast from the top of the stairs. I knew that he would make it interesting. But I never thought they'd actually lose the game. He had a 2 run lead with 2 outs in the 9th. And then he didn't. He blew the lead and then they lost the game. Season over.

In 2003 I was not shocked that the Sox lost to the Yankees - heartbroken, yes, shocked, no. In 2004 I was shocked that the Sox beat the Yankees on their way to dominating the World Series. In 2009 I am shocked that the Sox lost to the Angels. So you can see how the expectations have changed. But my desire hasn't. I want them to win every year. They don't get excuses from me anymore like they did when they always fell short. No more built in curses or lovable losers. I want true love again. And I want it now. But I have to wait until next year.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Excellent post...very heartfelt! I finished the post feeling very sad for you. I don't want you to have to wait either! (Side note: I will always be understanding and sympathetic when it comes to baseball. Football is another matter. )

Mike said...

(Cough Cough) Um, we won last night! :))

ds said...

Wonderful post, but must (cough) echo otin (cough, cough) and add (cough, cough, cough) in the cold and rain...but it's baseball. Anything can happen--and usually does.

Clarity said...

That is a sweet post, I always wonder about the passion of baseball and in particular the Red Sox, perhaps one day I'll watch a game and learn the rules at the same time.

Thank you for your tip re. my blog, I worked on the htm myself and just increased the margin, it was simpler than I thought, phew :)