36, 108. That is the capacity number of one of the most historic venues in sports. This ballpark is simply known as Fenway Park. Although this capacity is one of the smallest in professional baseball, the passion for the hometown team extends far and wide beyond the friendly confines of the “fens.” Although in the sports world it is commonly known that New Englanders’ passion for their “SAWX” is immense, the Red Sox’ effect on the whole region is what is even more impressive.
In this age of sports, teams are constantly changing players, ownership, name, and in some extreme cases, even location. But in Boston none of these changes in personnel cause the fan base to abate its collective dedication. The Red Sox have been a staple of New England for decades. In my lifetime, my dedication began while watching the games with my dad on weeknights, staying up just a little after bedtime in order to see Nomar Garciaparra hit it over the “monstahh.” Of course I was drawn to love the team which my Dad had always followed but this was just another tradition of New England as from generation to generation, Sox fans are continually born and bred. I first began to notice how far and wide the passion for the Red Sox reaches when I would see Red Sox logos stamped on everything from coffee to cars. Whatever an advertiser wanted to sell successfully in New England, it often was covered with those famous sox of red. But the unity of the Red Sox did not end there. Anywhere I would go when I was a kid I would almost always have one thing in common with someone around me. I could always find someone who was willing to talk about the Sox or last night’s game. That reality has not changed one bit. Whether it’s walking around your neighborhood seeing that famous red “B” on someone’s head, or seeing the Red Sox logo draped on McDonald’s windows, it is clear everyone loved the Sox.
But what had the team done to deserve this passion and loyalty. Up until 2004, the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Championship in 86 years, while the hated rival Yankee had won 26. But loving and following the Red Sox was more than just World Titles, it was being a part of that fabric in New England. I could feel this passion the first time I walked through the tunnel at Fenway and saw the beautiful green grass and smelled the delicious Fenway Franks. I was not just at my first baseball game; I was entering a family of passionate New Englanders. Since that day forth I have been a part of what makes the Boston Red Sox so unique. The Sox are not just a baseball team, but they are a way of life for a region that is bonded together by its unquestioned devotion to not only the team but to their family of fans as well. In a place where so many topics are passionately debated and often unresolved, the Red Sox serve as a common ground for men and women of all backgrounds to come together. It ties together people who would never be associated without the Sox and the bond is only strengthened with time and devotion. The Red Sox are the strongest bond we have as a region in New England and this is what I believe.
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