Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things 278:365

for the last 277 Grace posts, i've made a list of five. tonight, it is one single item but the number five still bears relevance.

five years ago, tonight, the 2004 Red Sox won the World Series. it's a moment i won't ever forget. a night that will always have an extra dose of meaning in it. i watched my lifelong baseball team, the same one my Gramp watched his entire life, do the one thing he never got to witness. i remember pausing, taking it in for him too, thinking how happy he would have been, hearing in my mind, his booming "HA! HA! HA!" of pleasure.

at the start of this baseball season, way back when pitchers & catchers first straggled into Fort Myers, i decided to read Faithful (Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King) alongside the season, marking the days & games off as closely matched as i could. things didn't go as planned in 2009, so when this year's Sox gave way to the Angels, i had to continue reading without them, a little more each night before i switched off my bedside lamp to settle down for sleep.

by sheer coincidence--and i swear, not by design--i settled in to read tonight, a little earlier than typical & couldn't put down the book. i was in the final chapter, "The Possible Dream." and as i took in each word, each thought & memory & emotion, pages turning beneath my fingers, i was reliving that glorious season as the minutes ticked down toward the bottom of the 11 o'clock hour. i finished the book on the very anniversary of their victory & i couldn't have orchestrated it better myself, if i had been savvy enough to actually plan for it.

i can't lie. as my eyes passed over the words in the book, they blinked back tears, for just a moment, remembering...

"Stabbed by Foulke!" crowed longtime Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione. "He underhands to first! The Red Sox are World Champions! Can you believe it?"

I hardly could, and I wasn't the only one. A hundred miles away, my son woke up his five-year-old son to see the end. When it was over and the Red Sox were mobbing each other on the infield, Ethan asked his father, "Is this a dream or are we living real life?"

and that's just it. reading those words, i am transported back, in the blink of an eye, to everything i felt. that season cannot be eclipsed. commiseration that spanned generations was now jubilation & i've never forgotten that. we celebrated with those who watched in amazement with us, and we celebrated for those who remained faithful for entire lifetimes & never got the chance to see. not in five years has a single ounce that joy diminished. that team i live & die by from February through October (while some of you chuckle & others roll your eyes) is a thread that has woven itself from my Gramp through my dad to me & hopefully beyond to possibly my own future offspring. it's something that was bred into me, a passion i share with those i came from & a torch i hope to pass on into the future.

and so today's Grace is one of joy that i've felt for five years. and all the glowing memories of brilliant Summer afternoons, perfect for baseball, and long late nights with Boston home whites glowing under the Fenway lights. it's for long discussions with those i hold near & dear on a topic that never grows old for us. it's for pastimes & games yet to be played that we will share. it's for something honest & wholesome when it seems the entire world has grown dim with anger & worry. it's for that which a baseball fan cannot articulate to someone who isn't. and it's for one night in October, a shining conclusion to a season that still seems a little surreal, that can still move me to the point of brushing away tears, and feeling so lucky that it's a part of who i am.

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3 with their own thoughts:

penuttpie Wednesday, October 28, 2009 12:29:00 AM  

love that you are so passionate about this :)

Scott Wednesday, October 28, 2009 3:27:00 PM  

Still get goose bumps (my daughter calls them chill bumps) hearing the call of the last out, from both the ALCS and WS. I don't think any one other than a true Red Sox fan can fully comprehend. After the last out I sat stunned for a momemnt, the reality setting in, it was such a strange feeling, never having experienced it before, the reality that it could really happen, that it HAD really happened.

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