Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Man, things got off to a sloooow start today. What a night! In some cruel twist of fate, there weren’t any caffeinated teabags to be found in my office either, so I sent out a search party and ended up with a giant chocolate chip cookie for breakfast instead. One of those days. But basically the entire city is in a great mood, so there’s that.

So, I’m a massive baseball fan. My brother and I used to wake up at the crack of dawn and watch SportsCenter (sometimes back-to-back) before it was time to get ready for school. When my uncle coached the Yankees, I wore his official jackets as real-life outerwear even though they were a bazillion sizes too big. I’ve earned free drinks at dive bars for knowing random stats and facts. I met my husband at a Red Sox game. Baseball is kind of my thing.

My uncle left the Yankees in the early 90s, going with Buck Showalter in Arizona, scouting, recruiting, and then coaching the Diamondbacks. My family was lucky enough to attend the World Series in 2001, when the Diamondbacks played (and eventually beat) the Yankees. We attended game three of the series, the first World Series game in New York following September 11. The Bronx was buzzing with energy, both nervous and enthusiastic.

Mayor Giuliani had been campaigning that New York City was “still open for business” and I remember taking the train to the stadium that night with such anticipation. Security and the crowds around the stadium were unlike anything I had ever experienced. We sat high up in the ballpark, looking up at the ink black sky on that freezing fall night and I remember feeling tremendously vulnerable. I thought to myself that if a crazy person in a plane wanted to take us out, I stood no chance.

During the pre-game festivities a flag from Ground Zero flew in center field and the PA announcer’s voice boomed: Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and welcome the President of the United States.President Bush walked confidently to the pitcher’s mound to throw out the first pitch, giving a thumbs up to the crowd. Just recalling the feeling of unity and patriotism in the stadium gives me goose-bumps still.
This video is one of my favorites. I love the behind the scenes perspective and thought it was so cool to see how powerful the experience was for the President, too.

At some stage, in college I guess, I embraced being a Red Sox fan. It’s just too much fun – the drama! The disappointment! More and more often, the glory! This baseball season has been remarkable – worst to first, Boston Strong, fear the beard – you’ve heard it all. Watching the game last night with my sister and her friends, cheering, dancing, hugging, and enjoying some fall brews (Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin is not the same as Shipyard Pumpkinhead, it turns out. Much stronger.) was the perfect ending to an exhausting post-season. I have to say, I’m looking forward to a good night sleep. 

Every win is huge. I remember watching the 2004 ALCS in our suite in Mills, assuming the same positions for each game, wicked superstitious and ridiculously fun. Later, we watched the clinching game of the World Series at my friend Nell’s apartment on Main Street. With two out and a couple of strikes in the ninth, the power went out across campus and you could almost feel the collective scream and then relief, when it returned a moment later. I wrote last week about the 2007 series, celebrating the victory by running the Dublin Marathon in my Sox gear, urged on along the way by people yelling, “Yeah, Boston!”

This year’s win is such a big deal. It’s no secret that we’ve had a tough year. Sad, resilient, powerful, united, inspired. I’m not sure yet which story I’ll tell five and ten years down the road – of Big Papi’s speech in April or in the dugout during game four. Torii Hunter going over the centerfield wall. The Flyin’ Hawaiian pounding his chest and rocking out to Bob Marley. Stephen Drew finally hitting a home run or just playing kickass defense each and every game. Nasty, nasty beards. I hope that this win can be our “but…” or the “and then…” at the end of the marathon bombing story. Back in the spring I read an article that talked about Boston being notoriously icy and standoffish. It said something to the effect of: Sometimes it takes years to feel like an insider in Boston. This April, it only took a week. I’d argue we accomplished the same thing in October. As the Dropkicks often remind us, Boston you’re my home.

Oh, and Kaitlyn and I went on our weekly jaunt last night, too. 5.32 miles in delightful company. Just to shoot straight, Feel Good Friday is probably going to feature the Red Sox again tomorrow. And then we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming.