Still, we believe
When I was about 10 or 11, I played girls’ softball in my small town. (Kind of like Little League, but for girls and softball instead of baseball). One game we played in, I did something really dumb that cost us the game; I don’t remember the exact details, but I dropped a ball I totally should have been able to catch, or let it go through my legs — something like that.
I was devastated. I took that stuff pretty seriously and I felt like such a loser for making such a dumb error. I cried on the way home, and my dad comforted me with the story of Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series, this man who played professional baseball for a living and yet still let a ball go through his legs and cost the Red Sox the series, which stopped me from crying and made me feel not-so-bad about my error. That was probably the first time I had heard of the infamous curse, what it meant and all the mistakes and pitfalls made in the post-1918 World Series that made Red Sox’s losing inevitable.
My dad has been a Red Sox fan since he was a kid, so he knows well of what he speaks. The heartbreak, the manic depression that accompanies Red Sox games is something that I have witnessed my entire life. It’s ingrained in the culture here — you can’t grow up here and be unaware of it. You can’t escape it, even if you’re not a baseball fan. You can’t not care, because everybody around you cares so much. Little kids and dogs know what’s going on. You just can’t get away from it.
I have seen dedicated sports fans all around the country and around the world. I watched England beat Argentina in the World Cup in 2002 and I knew how they felt, because England v. Argentina games have been fraught with as much emotion and as many controversial calls and mistakes as Red Sox v. Yankees games. But I have never seen the dedication of Red Sox fans. Year after year after year, they are there, sweating it out with the team, praying, hoping, begging some kind of deity, “Please let this year be The Year. Please break The Curse. Please.”
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for the World Series this year. I was only 6 the last time around. We might win the whole damn thing or lose spectacularly, but Red Sox Nation will still be there. We still believe. If not this year, then next year. Or the next year. We’ll still be there, watching the TV, cheering, screaming, whooping, hollering, drinking our beer and loudly proclaiming to our friends, “This is the year! They’re gonna do it this year!”