Last week was definitely a rough one in the lives of Bostonians and those of us who were lucky enough to call Boston home at one point.
It is difficult to know how to react to the events at the Boston Marathon and what transpired afterwards. At a time when the world doesn’t make sense feeling saddened, angry or threatened are all normal for such a terrible situation.
As a native New Englander and die-hard Boston sports fan, I know that no matter what, the city of Boston will persevere. As the Boston Globe wrote in Tuesday’s editorial “A commitment to rise to the occasion, to endure what must be endured, to remember all who suffered and lost their lives in times of strife, is written into the fabric of the city.” Acts of violence only work if they make people afraid to live their lives fully. We have an obligation not to let that happen. We will continue to live our lives, do our jobs and care for our neighbors.
Often, out of tragedy comes good. Boston’s people showed us their true colors last week. They gave the rest of us something to aspire to.
One of my favorite moments was when the fans at Saturday’s Red Sox game were treated to a performance by Neil Diamond to Boston’s unofficial anthem, Sweet Caroline.
Rumor has it that immediately after the second victim was captured, Neil purchased a ticket to Boston and called up Fenway asking if he could perform. Not realizing who the operator was talking to, she asked “what song would you like to sing?” His response… “umm, Sweet Caroline. If that is ok.”
Making this story even better, last week – the Yankees started an MLB movement to play this song, after the 8th inning in their stadiums to honor what happened on Monday.
I’ve sung along to this song many times at baseball games, parties and bars. Matt and I even asked the band at our wedding to perform this, along with a few other Boston favorites, while wearing Red Sox shirts… and they did.
This weekend, I realized that I didn’t know why this song was claimed by the people of Boston. My mom, aunt and I thought – what a perfect topic for a blog post.
The origins of the song’s association with the Red Sox date back to Amy Tobey, who worked for the Red Sox through a film and video communications company. From 1998 to 2004, she was responsible for selecting the music that would be played in the stadium. According to a Boston Globe article, she had noticed ‘Sweet Caroline’ was used at other sporting events, and she decided to send the sweetness over the Fenway speakers. The song was embraced by the fans, and the more it caught on, the more superstitious Tobey became about playing it – she considered it to be a good-luck charm. The Red Sox embraced the tradition and settled on the song being played during the eighth inning of every game.
Click here to see more of the tribute that took place at the start of the Red Sox game on Saturday (warning, you may need kleenex).
We are Boston Strong.
I was born and raised in New Hampshire. And although my parents (and basically every other member of my family) are from Ohio, I was thankfully raised a Red Sox fan. I guess that is what happens when you live in Red Sox nation, even when the team is terrible, as they were for the majority of my youth, you are a loyal fan. I think that when you are a baby, the nurses take you out of the delivery room, clean you off, swaddle you up and made you swear on your newly acquired life, that you will pledge your life to be part of the Fenway Faithful. You are then returned to the safety of your parents and your life is forever changed.
I still remember my first Red Sox game. My parents used to take Abby and I on “mystery trips.” They would load us into the car and drive us of to some fabulous location. It could be a trip to the movies to see the newest Disney movie, an educational adventure to an art museum (those were never my favorite), a visit to the circus, or a ticket to a musical or play. But my most favorite mystery trip ever was when we went to Boston to sit in the stands at Fenway to watch the Red Sox taken on the Anaheim Angels.
My parents went all out of this one. They blindfolded us for the ride down to Boston (or at least for the last few miles – I can’t remember all of the details, but it seems unlikely we would sit in the backseat of the car blindfolded for the full hour drive). I remember taking off my blindfold and seeing the massive green walls with the carefully painted lettering, spelling out “Fenway Park.” I couldn’t wait to get inside to get myself a Fenway frank and cheer on the sox.
Unfortunately we didn’t win the game. But I did come away with a lot of good memories and lessons learned.
1. I learned more curse words that I had ever been before. Clearly this was just as education as an art museum as my vocabulary expanded by at least 5 words.
2. The pitcher for the Angels was Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand. Imagine how happy my parents were to be able to turn this into a life lesson of “overcoming the odds.” We are JUST like an episode of Full House.
3. Abby and I were each allowed one “treat” – I got cotton candy (my go-to for sporting events, adventure parks, etc). Abby got an ice cream sundae that came in a little plastic Red Sox batters hat. She had that for years to come. I was pissed.
4. Someone hit a foul ball that was aimed near our seats. We were scared to death that we didn’t even realize the ball rolled right underneath out seats. I will never again let the fear of having a baseball to the face ruin my chances to earn Red Sox memorabilia. A black eye would have been a GREAT addition to a real MLB baseball!
5. Walking into Fenway, I felt like I was returning to the mother-ship. I knew, I would never cheer for another team. Ever.
That is, until last night.
Matt and I decided to stay in and watch Moneyball. I can’t even tell you how great this movie was. In addition to being a great movie start and humanitarian, I had no idea that Brad Pitt was responsible for transforming the sport of baseball too.
Well, really Jonah Hill should be given all the credit, but let’s face it. Even though he has lost 40 pounds, he is no Brad Pitt. And we all know, people give credit to those who have a pretty face (I learned this lesson from the musical Wicked).
Well last night I found myself rooting for the Oakland A’s. I wanted that 20th win just as much as I wanted the final game of the American League Championships in 2004 against the Yankees.
Well, let’s not get carried away… it wasn’t that much.
Although I liked the movie, I do have to say, Brad Pitt is an idiot. Why he didn’t take the job offer with the Red Sox is beyond me? Did he really think that his daughter’s song was that good that he should give up 12.5 million dollars and a world series trophy and a chance to be part of the best baseball franchise? Umm, no. (Sorry – I do love you as Paige from Brothers and Sisters though).
So while I found myself cheating on the Red Sox for a hot minute, I blame Brad Pitt. Honestly, he is probably the downfall of many relationships; including his own with Rachel from Friends… Sorry Brad but after that move, we could never be together – even if you were the GM of the Red Sox.
So apparently, there is a big football game this weekend. Well like many Patriots fans around the country, I am not very interested. I am ready for Spring. I am ready for the Red Sox. And I am ready for my boy Dustin.
56 more days till the season opener.