Saturday, October 08, 2005

A return to normalcy.

Today's Boston Herald has a short article that captures the current mood of Red Sox Nation fairly well. Here's my favorite section, in which two fans explain in apt terms what it's all about:
Heartache is the true Red Sox fan's birthright . . .

"We gotta go through it," said Megan Bol, 20, a Lesley [College] student. "It gets rid of all the bandwagon fans. They can't handle it, it's part of the mystique."

Fans aren't sure why the Sox repeat the same Theater of the Grotesque during the end of each season, teetering on the brink of collapse only to either get back on their feet or fall flat.

"They break our hearts, come back and break our hearts again," said Brendan Monahan, 17, of West Springfield. "This is the way they're supposed to be."
I couldn't read the above quotes without recalling the more famous words of the late Bart Giamatti:
[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, Giamatti knew what he was talking about. As a professor of English who served as president of Yale before becoming commissioner of Major League Baseball, Giamatti had the right combination of eloquence and perception to capture the greater significance of baseball. Though I've long recognized the beauty and the truth of Giamatti's words, I'm not sure I fully appreciated them until now. Seeing your team win the World Series after an 86-year drought has a way of getting a fan's hopes up and making the return to the predictability of defeat all the more difficult. The experience of yearly heartbreak is integral to being a Red Sox fan, and going without heartbreak for a year is a good way to be reminded of that.

Despite my disappointment about last night's game, I'm proud that some my comments were included in Universal Hub's blog roundup on the BoSox defeat. A special welcome to any Universal Hub readers who are visiting this blog for the first time - please make yourselves at home as we commiserate with one another on a (customarily) disappointing end to the season. As far as increasing readership goes, what's bad for the Red Sox may be good for Novitiate Notes. Go Sox, AMDG.


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