Growing up in Florida before the Tampa Bay Rays were a thing (the team started playing in 1998, when I was already in college), I wasn’t really interested in professional baseball. I remember the year the Twins were in the series and we watched because my grandparents lived in Minnesota and sent us “Homer Hankies” to wave when the Twins hit home runs. And I played girl’s softball (I was a catcher and I loved it). Other than that, though, baseball wasn’t really a part of my life.
That changed in 2003. I was living in Boston and working on my master’s in theology, and the Red Sox were hot. My grad school was small and close-knit, so those who were hardcore Sox fans soon infected the rest of us. I found myself putting the game on the TV when I was at home and writing papers or knitting or sewing or whatever. We all excitedly tracked the team’s rise, held our breath as they got SO CLOSE to the Series…only to fall in the AL Championship. The next year I was fully into the Sox. I even went to a game when I was pregnant and supposed to be on bed rest. I was in Boston when the Sox won it all, on an October night when a lunar eclipse turned the moon red.
The next year we moved away from Boston, and while I remained a die-hard member of Red Sox Nation, I couldn’t watch as many games. (For some reason the Chicago stations insisted on airing White Sox and Cubs games instead. Go figure!) I cheered them on in two more World Series wins, but it was different. I wasn’t steeped in the culture. I didn’t know the players. It was always my team, but somehow it wasn’t my team.
We moved back to Boston in the summer of 2015, and when it comes to baseball? I’M HOME. Last year I watched Big Papi’s astounding final season. And today? Today is opening day. I drove by Fenway Park this afternoon and saw the throngs of Sox Nation making their way to the park. And now I’m home and the game is on and life is good.