Why do I cheer for the Red Sox? It’s very simple.
It was October of 2004, and Kurt, my husband of sixteen years, invited me to join him in the man cave to watch Game Five of the American League Championship Series. I had never been a big baseball fan, but Kurt absolutely adored the Red Sox, turning them on every chance he could get, which in Arkansas, aka St. Louis Cardinals country, is almost never.
Of course, when the road to the World Series begins to narrow, all games are televised; the networks hoping for nine nail biting innings that will keep viewers glued to the screen. I’m sure that after Game Five was in the books, they weren’t disappointed.
Probably like many other wives, I acquiesced to Kurt’s invitation, believing that, in less than an hour, I’d be sawing logs on the futon. However, this game between rivals New York and Boston was intense, keeping me miraculously awake for each pitch, each out and each bat, in spite of the fact that it was very long – a whopping 14 innings! And when the final bat was swung, and Boston finished on top, a new fan had joined the ranks of Red Sox Nation.
We watched the remainder of that series, followed by the World Series. In 2004, the Red Sox broke the dreaded curse of the Big Bambino and won their first championship in eighty six years. The Jones house was abuzz with both celebratory cheering and high fives!
Life went on pleasantly and uneventfully through Thanksgiving, Christmas and a cold winter. As spring approached, so did Kurt’s birthday and baseball season. I began scouring the internet for the perfect gift, and then it dawned on me.
Why not celebrate at Fenway? Better yet, why not attend a game between one of Baseball’s greatest rivals: Red Sox vs. Yankees? I figured that the tickets, airfare and hotels would be pricey, and yes, that money should be put back for college, rainy days, and whatnot, but I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was an investment: an investment in us, our future, and even possibly, the future of the Red Sox. (I mean, surely they would thrive with my exuberant words of encouragement!) With that in mind, the necessary transactions were made while I still had the nerve.
Butterflies fluttered constantly in my stomach during the weeks preceding his birthday. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction! When I handed him the tickets, he was speechless! And in mid July 2005, we boarded our first plane together, one that would take us from Little Rock to Boston: a trip that would change my life forever.
There’s something magical about visiting Fenway Park.
There’s a flurry of activity as spectators scurry to their seats. Numerous t-shirt and program vendors vying for attention with shouts of discounted prices and incentives, the aroma of brats and hot dogs wafting through the air as they sizzle on the open grills, squeals of children winning carnival type games offered by Red Sox Promotion staff, and the sound of shared laughter coming from open air bars and restaurants can engender enthusiasm and giddiness even in the most solemn of personalities.
And that’s before even entering the stadium!
The atmosphere inside MLB’s oldest park is unlike any other. History oozes from each seat, from every corner, and from the rafters.
Friendly faces welcome each ticket holder, provide directions, and offer concessions with a healthy dose of hospitality. No matter the seat location, the stunning field view is like no other!
From the first pitch until the last, we joined the crowd cheering “Yankees Suck!” and “Let’s Go Red Sox!” We learned the importance of music, including the individual song snippets that introduced each batter, and, of course, “Sweet Caroline”.
I don’t remember if they won or lost that night; the only thing that really mattered was that I was wholeheartedly won over.
Falling in love with Beantown and Red Sox Nation, we have returned on a number of occasions, two of which we celebrated milestone anniversaries,
one to indoctrinate our kids,
and one, well, just because. I mean, who really needs a reason to go see the Red Sox?
Throughout these fourteen years we have come to know and love folks like Big Papi, Dustin Pedrioa, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, and Jonathon Papelbon. Likewise, we have welcomed the new faces of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benitendi, David Price, Steve Pearce, J.D. Martinez and Jackie Bradley, Jr. There have been a few shake ups and some disappointments, but, like family, through good times and bad, we are committed.
As I reflect on that chilly day in 2004 when I said yes to a man cave bonding experience, never in a million years would I have believed it would culminate into more than a decade of awesome memories that include laughter, blissful camaraderie, never ending smiles, and
three four World Series Pennants.
Thank you Boston Red Sox!