Saturday, September 27, 2008

All You Need Is Love

I recently stumbled upon the following quote: "I fell in love with Boston, so hopefully I'll be here for a long time." - Jonathan Damon


I love this quote for two reasons. First, Johnny Damon not only resembled a Neanderthal during his days with the Red Sox, but he actually talks like a primitive human being. Seriously. The next time he's interviewed, close your eyes and try as hard as possible to imagine the speaker without a massive underbite. You can't do it. This is a man that out-earns an English teacher before noon every single day.

Anyways, the second reason I love this quote is because Damon -- now a Yankee (sort of) -- hit the nail on the head. Boston is easy to fall in love with. It's like the beautiful girl next door: approachable, not too intimidating, and fun without being too insane. But this week, I noticed something about my brand new love. She's got some terrible issues she manages to hide until I get back to my bedroom (typical).

You see, out my window, rising just west of my happy place, sits Fenway Park. (Remember in the movie The Girl Next Door when Emile Hirsch finds out that Elisha Cuthbert is actually a porn star? Well this is exactly the same, only replace "porn star" with "Satan.")

Here's my average evening on the night of a Sox game:
6:00 p.m. -- Leave work happy, upbeat, optimistic about life.
6:15 p.m. -- Wedge myself in between 8 Sox fans who keep yelling, "Wicked!" and 4 drunk college girls who keep yelling, "Papelbon!"
6:30 p.m. -- Arrive home. Begin drinking heavily.

After each game, fans walk or drive slowly away from Fenway, Sox gear as far as the eye can see (from my window). When I see this, and I see the lights of that cursed ballpark, it's like all the warmth and happiness of the world has suddenly been sucked away.

With this weighing over me all week, I invited over my old friend Pat for a few drinks on my roof deck to make myself feel better. From up there, I can look above the Sox fans to the open sky as the sun sets, to the Pru and the John Hancock building as their windows gradually light with the coming darkness. I can feel a cool breeze and take stock of what's really important in my life, in my new apartment, and in my new home that I'm trying so hard to love despite her flaws. Because that's what love is. Love is about forgiveness. Love is about making that extra effort. Love is about compromise.

"Great view, isn't it?" I asked Pat.

"Just wait 'til the playoffs," he said. "The Pru puts up a big 'Go Sox' sign."

Love stinks.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Final Day

Every fan is tied to their team in a way that is both inexplicable and inextricable. The events of their lives are driven and marked by the events of their team's history, and although this may hold true in their minds alone, it is very important and very real.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 is my final day as a nonworking man, at least until retirement. It seems simple enough, but really, I'm leaving behind a major part of my life. Sunday, September 21, 2008 is also the final day that Yankee Stadium will host a baseball game. So to punctuate the end of my pre-professional life, and the end of the most important venue in sports, I will be sitting here on the couch of my Boston apartment between Back Bay and Fenway, watching ESPN's tribute to the Stadium all day, dressed in as much Yankees gear as I can possibly wear.

For those of you who don't understand the ties between fan and team, perhaps you can relate to the chills I feel watching televised montages and panoramic shots of Yankee Stadium. As Winston Churchill said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." I'm just about 23 years old, and I won't presume to offer any worldly comparisons or advice. But I've seen the Colosseum. I've stood by the Pantheon at night. I've been up the Eiffel Tower, walked around the Louvre and the Vatican, and I've run the track of the Circus Maximus. Yankee Stadium is none of these things -- it's younger, it won't be found in your history books, and let's face it, it's a building where they play baseball games and nothing more to a lot of people. But to all the players and fans, to all the popes and government leaders who spoke there, to everyone who feels tied to the Yankees, it's ours. And it always will be.

I'll always remember Yankee Stadium's final day. Because it's my final day too, in more ways than one.