Ever since I could remember, I have always had a great interest and love for the game of baseball. As a kid, I would spend countless hours in the backyard with my grandfather, or even by myself, tossing, hitting and fielding a baseball. When I wasn’t in the yard pretending to be Nomar Garciaparra I would watch the Boston Red Sox games on TV with my Grandfather. Even in my early adolescence, as impatient as most are, I had the patience to sit there and watch the Sox.
With my eyes glued to the screen with a look of anticipation fixed on my face ready to mimic my grandfather with the excitement of a home run hit or the frustration of Mo-Vaughn striking out. Call me crazy, but I was addicted, even as a young boy, to Boston Red Sox baseball. My first experience at Fenway Park came when I was 9 years old, accompanied by my Grandfather. My jaw nearly hit the floor at the sight of America’s oldest ball park. People all around me decked out in their Sox gear would chant “LETS GO REDSOX! ” With grass so green and precisely cut, looking too perfect to be real.
With the scent of hot dogs from screaming vendors “GET YA HOT DOGS HERE” providing an overpowering aroma, how could you refuse? I gazed up at the giant green wall in left field, there it was, the green monster. I was speechless, I was in awe. Recalling being on the shoulders of my Grandfather as we walked towards our seats, a memory I would never forget. Throughout the game my grandfather would haggle the players on the other team with the line that always stuck in my head “You couldn’t hit water if ya fell out of a boat! The Sox went on to win the game, I had just become a victim of Red Sox fever. I continued to play baseball in my youth and actually developed some decent skills as a catcher. My grandfather was there, every game, every at bat, every pitch, to guide me along the way. In the offseason, we would follow all the Sox news and pay close attention to the prospects and free agents they would acquire. Two years after my first experience at Fenway Park my grandfather passed away leaving me devastated.
Wanting nothing to do with baseball, I stopped playing all together and even stopped watching the Sox. Over the next couple years, I had no interest in anything that had to do with baseball or the Red Sox as it would remind me ever so much of my grandfather who I had experienced so much of this game with. Skateboarding became my main focus, giving up all my skills I had acquired in my youth as a ball player, missing the most crucial years of baseball development as a pre-teen. Once in a while I would hear from old coaches, but still had no interest.
In October of 2003, I decided I would watch the Red Sox once again considering they were in the playoffs, only to be heartbroken by their dramatic extra inning loss to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Once again, I could only think of my grandfather who I had such an attachment with over the Red Sox and the game of baseball. The following spring, the baseball season started again, but I still chose not to watch the Sox or play any baseball whatsoever, that is until they made the post season once again.
I decided to pay attention and the Sox advanced to the next round, to play the Yankees once again in the ALCS. Being so heartbroken from the year before, I didn’t know what to expect, and sure enough, I found myself in the same position, the Sox down three games to none in the best of a seven game series, I had no faith. My father decided to go out and surprise me with tickets to game 4 of the series at Fenway Park. I hadn’t been there since the death of my grandpa and was unsure if I wanted to go see the Sox lose the game and the series.
At the last minute I decided to go and boy was I in for a surprise. We parked in Quincy and took the train into Boston as we had always done. Mixed emotions from Sox fans engulfed the jam packed train, and conversation was swarming about how disappointing the Sox were and how they would lose the series. A group of old men were bickering about the topic, one of them even screamed “THE NAILS IN THE COFFIN ALREADY! ” I was one of the pessimists who had no faith and kept my mouth shut. The atmosphere on the train was hot and tightly packed like a can of sardines, I was eager to get off.
We arrived at the vintage ball park and everything was almost as if it never moved from 5 years ago when I saw my first game. I was in for the surprise of my life. The Sox ended up down the whole game, when it came to the 9th and final inning with the Yankees ahead of by 1 run, Lights out closer Mariano Rivera was on the mound. The Yankees thought they had the game in the bag that is until, a runner reached base. Dave Roberts stole second base, putting him in scoring position as the tying run, sending the Fenway faithful into absolute pandemonium.
At this point, the stadium was so loud I could barley here my self breathe. An overwhelming feeling of excitement and adrenaline ran through my soul. Emotions were high as David Ortiz stepped to the plate. Boom! He hit a single, driving in the tying run, turning the momentum in favor of the Sox. People were screaming their heads off. I can honestly say Ive never felt so much emotion and energy in one place as I did on this magical October night. After 14 innings of baseball the tie game was finally broken when David Ortiz hit the game winning home run. Once again the stadium burst into an absolute riot.
High fives and cheers all around. Under the sound of raging fans I could here the stadium speakers were playing “Well I love that dirty water, Oh Boston your my home! ” It was then, for the first time in a while, I felt that connection with my grandfather through the means of the atmosphere surrounding Fenway Park. From that moment I was hooked, once again. Coming back from a 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees in game 7 at Yankee stadium, the beloved Red Sox had mended my broken heart, and re-established my connection with the game of baseball, and my late grandfather who meant so much to me.
The sox would go on to win the World Series in dramatic fashion, which in turn, greatly helped me get over the passing of my grandfather and revert me back into the Red Sox fan he had molded me into. Over the next couple years, I picked up the game of baseball again, and made the varsity team my first try. I became more focused on my schoolwork and getting good grades, with hopes of playing baseball for a good college and fulfilling mine and my grandfather dreams. Not only did that cold night in October change my views on the game of baseball, but changed my attitude on life, turning me into a better person overall.
After my grandfather’s death, I was always bitter about everything and became a really selfish person. My experience with the Red Sox that night helped me overcome the hate and sadness I had built up inside me, turning it into motivation to live up to my standards and focus more on what was really important to me. I had re-established that connection with my father that had been missing since the death of my grandpa, which ultimately made me a stronger person in the long run.