Friday, November 9, 2007
A Sox fan's dilemma: what to do now?
So now what? What do I do now? Don't get me wrong — I'm not worried about how I'm going to spend my time, now that the Series is over. There are the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, not to mention my job, family, hobbies and interests. No, I have plenty to do; that's not the issue.
The problem is, there's nothing to complain about. In fact, when you get right down to it, there's barely anything to even talk about anymore! The Sox won the World Series — again. Whoopee! In '04, after waiting 85 years (in my case, 56 years, if, as I believe is true, the moment a baby is born in Boston, he or she inherits a gene, addiction or disease that dooms that person to become a permanent member of Red Sox Nation), the championship brought a few weeks of euphoria. It was just so unreal, the way it unfolded, the impossible dream somehow coming true.
But 2007 is entirely different. I mean, things have gotten completely out of hand, wouldn't you agree? The Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox, the cellar-dwellers of my childhood, the boys who, year after year, have brought me such sweet agony, are now the team to beat? Next season, the Sox will be the odds-makers' first pick to win it all. They will be the favorites!
This is a horrible situation. For one thing, the long off-season looms ahead like an endless highway unplowed after a blizzard. Where do we go from here? If we had lost to Cleveland in, say, seven games, the next few months would have surely been glorious ones, filled with second guessing about what went wrong. Did we overuse Okajima? Should Beckett have pitched Game 4? Would Cora have produced more at shortstop? And, of course, having lost a series, the inevitable and necessary concerns would have been mulled over about our future: do we stick with Drew and Lugo? Is it time to really try to make a deal for Manny? Can we win it all with a bench of Kielty, Cora, Hinske and Mirabelli?
You can forget about all that good talk now. We won, for God's sake! Who wants to discuss what needs to change next year? No one, because nothing needs to change! Keep everything just the way it is and we will — guess what —be expected to win again! Can anything be more boring than that?
Do you really want the Red Sox to become a clone of the Patriots? Watching the Pats is a happy hour: you sit around, enjoy a beer or two, chat with friends and, oh yeah, now and then glance at the tube to find out how close Brady is from breaking the universe's all-time record for TD passes. Not much drama there.
Speaking of drama: there's nothing worse for actors, writers and poets than happiness. Think of the best movies you've seen, books you've read, poems and songs you have taken to heart. They speak of conflict, strife, emotional turmoil, irony — the stuff of the human soul. A longtime songwriter, I have written a number of Red Sox tunes. I call them "songs of pain, hope and dread." Songs about Grady Little's fatal mistake, Buckner's error, Clemens leaving Boston, Mo Vaughn's inflated self-image — topics that stir up all kinds of exciting, hostile feelings!
Now what? Help me here, please. A few ideas come to mind, but would anyone want to listen to songs entitled: "The Little Smiling Second Baseman," "We Like Mike," or "Tino, You're So Keen-o"? Forget about listening to them, I don't even want to write them!
So you see my problem: no worries, no complaints, no ideas. Next April, when the first pitch is thrown and the first strike is called, I will be watching. I will be rooting for the Sox (I have no choice — you know, the disease-thing). But there will be no anxiety, no dream that hasn't come true, no fear, no pessimism.
It's a tough way for a Red Sox fan to live.
Gene Stamell is a long-time third-grade teacher at the Carlisle Public School.
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito