It’s that time of the year again, and boy, am I happy about it. It’s the time where old men and young kids alike can eat copious amounts of food and escape judgment from horrified onlookers. The same can be said about the questionable-yet-appropriate language directed toward those in control of the proceedings.
That’s right: baseball’s back.
Around early February every year, I anxiously begin looking at the calendar, waiting for one specific date to finally arrive: whenever pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Ever since I was a child, I remember being in a field playing, be it with my friends, a team, or with my dad. It was my escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and school life. It was my very own personal garden to express myself and let off some steam.
Some of my best memories revolve around baseball, like spending my birthday at a game with my dad or winning a title with my travel team.
All of the sudden, that joy came rushing back at the possibility of sitting in the stands at Fenway Park once more, cheering on the Red Sox, and seeing off David Ortiz during his final season.
Some say it’s just a game. But, at least to me (and many others will agree), it signifies so much more than that. It is the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to engage in a quasi-religious experience with 40,000 other individuals who are all there for the same reason: to see a bunch of guys hit and throw a ball around for 3 hours.
It’s an entire city getting behind a team and wanting to see it succeed. Just take a look around the country to a city like Kansas City and what it meant to them to finally win it all this past year. Or look at the city of Boston after the marathon bombing, how it rallied behind the Red Sox all the way to a World Series title in 2013. The impassioned speech “Big Papi” Ortiz delivered (“this is our f*****g city”) will always live on in the city’s lore.
In a time of duress, the team served as a needed escape from the grueling reality that took over the city during those jarring spring and summer months, when the abrupt reality of the state of the world came knocking down Beacon Street.
The entire city united as one, in a way it may never do so again, in a time Boston needed it most. It truly became but one nation, a Red Sox Nation.
Fast-forward to today, and there is genuine optimism about the team once more, after years of mediocrity, that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Year after year, “Sweet Caroline” plays over the speakers during the eighth inning at Fenway every night, but this year, it might keep playing deep into October.
So, as I impatiently check Twitter for updates from those lucky enough to be down in Ft. Myers watching and reporting how the Sox are getting ready for the season, I can just hold back the excitement it generates in me to finally be able to join the Nation once more.
Featured Image by Kelsey McGee / Heights Editor