The first thing that comes into my head when I hear a question about passion is the Boston Red Sox. Anyone that does not know that I love the Red Sox does not know me. I have been an avid Sox fan since the 1999 ALCS against the Yankees, and my mood replicates the team’s performance on a day-to-day basis. I cried in ’99 and ’03. Silently I celebrated in ’04 from my apartment in Belgium at 4:00 AM. I cried again in ’05 and ’06. I pray every day that I will not cry this year.
Most of my beliefs come from my family, as I have three older siblings in a two parent home. I did not attend school until fifth grade, my parents instead decided to home school me instead of sending their child to Milton Public Schools. Sheltering me from media, we did not own a television until the move to Brookline in late ’02. My oldest sister and my brother sparked my fanaticism for the Sox a long time ago, teaching me to throw and catch in our backyard.
My dad’s job, professing at Northeastern University, influences what happens to me more than anything. He took a sabbatical when I was 5 years old and decided to spend the year outside of Den Haag in Holland, researching for a local university. This was my first year with no one to play baseball with, despite the score of neighborhood kids. I began to pick Dutch up around Christmas, and soon became fluent. Having forgotten most of the Holland experience, when my dad told me he was taking us to Belgium for the ’04-’05 school year, I didn’t know what to expect. I acted apprehensively, but perhaps fear was in me more than anything. However, I didn’t remember the days when I got that craving for baseball and it just wasn’t available. It turned out on this trip I would miss more Red Sox action than I could possibly imagine.
We traveled on the night the Sox traded Nomar to the Cubs, in return for Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, and Roberts, so I didn’t find out until we set up our internet a week later. We rented an apartment two blocks from my school, where I learned enough French to get by and receive good grades by October, and three blocks from Maison Antoine, said to be the best server of frites in the world. However I was almost totally devoid of having someone to talk to about the Sox, as the Nation is not enormous over there. Waking up in the morning after the third ALCS game against the Yankees may have been the biggest letdown of my life, and it didn’t help that my new Belgian friend Jourdan had seen it ESPN and was laughing at me and teasing me about it all day.
“The Red Sox lost, ha-ha, the Yankees are going to win the World Series!”
Boy did I get him back four games later. And after the World Series was over, he was kind enough to share in my joy, even though he knew little of its context.
I came back to Brookline hoping even more for a Sox World Series win, as I felt upset at not wildly celebrating. All my friends had stories to tell about what they did that night, running out in the streets barefoot and screaming, and things like that. I wanted nothing more than to be able to take part in that joy and celebration as a proud member of Red Sox Nation. But until this year, the Sox have just come up a little short. Until now. Last week, when the Sox clinched the East, I screamed and clapped like a child, full of joy. I hadn’t been this excited in three years. Next on the checklist: Division Series win.
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