I can’t remember ever being happier to be wrong! There will be tons of words written about the first Red Sox win in Fenway in 95 years. None will be enough, nor will mine adequately express our collective joy. As CNN’s John Berman, a Red Sox fan, said this morning outside Fenway: worst to first, and tragic to magic.
Baseball has often been a metaphor for life: “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and other Yogi-isms. Berra also called the 1969 Mets “the overwhelming underdogs.” And that’s what last year’s last place (chicken-and-beer) Red Sox were, coming into 2013. The only question was whether they would be in last place, or next to last. Then, the bombings. A city shocked and bruised. The day after the tragedy, the team took the field, and Big Papi said it for all of us: “this is our fucking city.” Few faulted his expletive, not even the FCC. I will not shrink from it here. They reflect his spirit. Today he is MVP, and, for that and other reasons, we all feel like winners.
Yes, it’s only a game. But what a game! Month after month, this scrappy team demonstrated dogged determination. Their beards, ugly though most were, delivered the message: they were one for all and all for one. They worked hard. They persevered. They prevailed. And that’s what we tell our grandchildren.
Baseball is indeed a metaphor. But it isn’t life. The families who lost loved ones will be spending their first Thanksgiving and their first Christmas with holes in their hearts. The survivors will face lifetime disabilities, and, even with their resilience, their lives will forever be changed.
But in this one day of triumph, we can celebrate the team and the city as proof that life’s hardships can be turned around. We can enjoy victory and tuck it into our memories, to be taken out and wallowed in when we are in our dotage, and our retelling of it will make young folks roll their eyes. But they can’t take this away from us. No one can.
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