There’s something to be said for sports masochism.
When you root for a team that never wins and is routinely beaten down in improbable fashion – you feel as though you are part of a unique club. Your pain is the same pain felt by all the other diehards, and yet there’s a sick part of you that can’t wait to find out how your team is going to disappoint you next year. You hang on every pitch, or throw, or kick or shot. You want a championship more than anything, so much so that you will risk being homeless to witness just one championship game live. There’s something to be said about being a sports masochist, the truest of the true fans.
I was once one of these fans, a diehard Red Sox fan growing up in Massachusetts. Yes, our storyisentirely insufferable these days – so much so that I would not blame you onebit if you’re not reading this right now because you simply saw the phrase “Red Sox fan” and clicked on your Facebook tab instead.
If you arestill reading, thanks man. Just for that, I’ll save you the ugly Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone stories and skip right to the “good parts.”
In the lead-up to the Red Sox’ 2004, curse-breaking win I was laser-focused on TV screens. Nothing would stand in the way between myself and watching every pitch of a Red Sox playoff game. I wouldn’t even drink all that much during games (I was in college and also a borderline alcoholic … so this took some real sacrifice) so that I would actually remember what happened.
The entire month of October 2004, I was locked in. Watch every single pitch at night. Get up early every morning and devour every newspaper and listening to every talk show.
When the Sox came back from 0-3 down to topple the mighty Yankees and when they swept the Cardinals, it was euphoric. I celebrated in downtown Boston all night long, and all night long turned into all week long.
Fast forward to the Red Sox’ next World Series appearance just three years later.
Game 1 of the series was a Saturday night. My then-girlfriend and I had the brilliant idea to hold a Halloween party at our crappy apartment a week earlier. We actually kept the date. And not only did we keep the date, we had music playing in the background (like 2007 pop music … think Pussycat Dolls) throughout the game.
Had 2004 me witnessed this scene – 2007 me being a casual TV observer of a World Series game being broadcast live from Fenway Park with Nicole Sherzinger blaring in the background – he would have immediately found god because there would have been nothing else to believe in.
Six years after that, similar deal. I attended a Halloween party on a Saturday night that also happened to be the same day as Game 3 of that year’s World Series. My eyes routinely fell away from the TV set broadcasting Red Sox – Cardinals as I talked about mundane things like marriage and real estate and children with people who could not care less major baseball happenings taking place on a plasma.
When the Red Sox won both of those series’ in 2007 and 2013 I was really happy. Euphoria was not present, but I was really happy.
The truth is – it’ll never be the same Cubs fans. When the euphoria of your first World Series win in 108 years wears off in five or 10 years from now – don’t be ashamed of yourself if baseball doesn’t mean as much as it once did.
All you have to do is cherish that moment the pain ended forever – because no sports experience you’ll have in your life will ever be sweeter.