I need a twelve step program. I can probably find one in the Bronx. People say the first step on overcoming an addiction is by admitting the problem, so here it goes: I am a die-hard Red Sox fan.
Growing up in New England it is probably not surprising to anyone that I was exposed to baseball. As I look back now, I realize baseball in New England has always been elevated to the status of being a religious experience. Every year New Englanders pray to the baseball gods to let this be another season we can celebrate a World Series championship. The shining beacon of light in our dismal winters has been waiting for the week in February when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. My heart skips in anticipation when I learn the pitchers are simply throwing long tosses. They do not have to be throwing from the mound for me to begin imagining the Sox pitching a perfect game.
Opening day at Fenway is a sacred holiday. Everyone, and I mean everyone, thinks of excuses to miss work in order to attend the opening day festivities and personally wish our boys good luck for the season. Students try to negotiate homework deals with teachers. They have to explain it is simply a moral imperative to cheer for the Sox on opening day. I mean really, homework will not benefit us in the long run, but being able to scream for the local baseball team can will the team to victories. The teachers in this area really need to rearrange their priorities.
I cannot deny that baseball is ingrained in my psyche. In fact, I will never forget the first year I was truly engulfed in baseball and the Red Sox tradition–it was 1986 and the Sox were going to win all. Little did I know the naïveté of my thinking.
Dressed in Red Sox paraphernalia and complete with black strips under my eyes (I mean all the players did it), I sat in my family room and watched game six of the series. Simply put, that was my initiation into being a Red Sox fan. The scent of buttered popcorn filled the room as I clapped and cheered on all the Red Sox players. The Sox were one out away from victory. My heart was pounding so fast the I was almost in a state of delirium. Then, inexplicably, Bill Buckner the first baseman, let a slow, and I mean slows as in it is a scientific miracle the ball had enough energy to continue rolling forward slow, go between his legs for an error. The Sox lost the series and I was then an official fan of the Red Sox. I had gone from total elation to total despair in the blink of an eye.
Even though I then realized that the mental and physical effects of being a Red Sox fan, I can’t kick the habit. I know it is bad for me, but I cannot quit cheering and believing. Every year when the players report to camp, I begin envisioning a World Series title. I become boastfully confident that Sox are going to win it all. I love being a Red Sox fan.
My husband is the one who pointed out why addiction. He is the one who wants me in therapy. He does not understand my need to watch every Red Sox game to the end.
To please my husband, I stood up and announced, “My name is Ami and I am a Red Sox fan.” It is my first baby step in battling my baseball addiction.