A Moment of Zen

by Ryan

Inbox
From: Rich
Oct. 4, 1:34 am

“Really, though… at what point in our lifetimes did the Sox become an unstoppable killing machine in October?”

It’s never easy.

I know this because I’ve been there. We’ve all been there, I think. There are so many times I’ve been that person sitting lifeless in the stands I would need an extra set of hands to count them all. Seeing that picture brings a twinge of sympathy, a feeling that only comes with familiarity. What that guy was feeling has been with me before, and just looking at it brings back memories of the past.

Now it’s different. I can’t answer Rich’s question, but the fact of the matter is that everything has changed over the last five years or so and I’m most certainly not complaining. The Red Sox, my team, has won two World Series, a division title, and become one of the premiere baseball teams in the league right before my eyes. Looking back at that Cubs fan makes me remember all those times they tried to kill me, and I can’t help but appreciate what I’ve seen even more because of it.

That’s the one thing you have to try really hard at, maintaining perspective on what you are experiencing. A lot of Red Sox fans that happen to be Patriots and Celtics fans have had a more difficult time doing this, and understandably so. Trust me, if you are from the Boston area and root for these teams you have every right to be a douchebag when it comes to your sports teams. Absolutely. But for the person who is a Sox fan from Buffalo and shoulders the burden of the Bills and Sabres, well, it’s a lot harder to get the douche quotient up.

One thing I do know is that last night was pretty amazing. To see the Red Sox jump out to a huge lead and let it slip away wasn’t uncommon, but the amount I wasn’t freaking out was pretty unusual. I wasn’t secure, I didn’t know they would win, but for some reason I wasn’t trying to chew my left arm off with worry. If this game took place in 2002 I would be typing with three fingers today.

When that lead slipped way on Papelbon’s watch I got worried. Sure, everyone did. I didn’t know J.D. Drew was going yard in the ninth, but I still had a bit of confidence going into it. Yeah, F-Rod was out there. Yeah, the Angels have all the momentum in the world. Yeah, that stupid monkey was everywhere, but the Sox have been there before. This could be okay.

When Drew crushed that hanger, I knew it was over. It was right then that I realized what winning does to you. To know that Papelbon was going to shut the door and rip out another team’s heart was amazing. Absolutely the best feeling in sports. I watched that last inning almost in disbelief of how sure I was that this game was over. Matthews kept fouling off pitches, but I knew Paps was going to get him.

There is a confidence that comes with success I can’t explain. Those that have not experienced it deem it insufferable, and those that have despise it with jealous rage when they do not. Every sports fan wants to see their team win, but it isn’t about the trophy in the end. When your team wins, players get that trophy, and you get that confident demeanor for the rest of your life. No matter what happens with the Red Sox from this point on, I will always know that Jonathan Papelbon was going to get three outs for me last night. Without a doubt in my mind, that game was over.

I am a practical person, and I realize that someday this will end. Papelbon will become Rivera in the desert and Pedroia will be Mighty Casey. One day I’m sure I will read a Buster Olney book about this team and nod to myself about its current sad state. However, I will know that it was absolutely worth it, and I’m going to enjoy the times I’ve had before it’s too late.

I don’t know when this is all going to end, but today I know this:

F#$k that rally monkey, man.