Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Dirtiest Water of All!

A lot of the talk about what the Red Sox have just given to their fans has been phrased, quite understandably, in terms of release rather than in terms of gain. Free from the Curse. Free from the chant. Free from a peculiar dread about dying without having seen what we've just seen. Free from a certain kind of guilt about raising children to belong to a cult so persuasive and yet so pitiless.

All of that makes good sense; I won't pretend that it doesn't. While making my pedestrian rounds this afternoon, I felt like I kept clearing the curb by six inches everytime I crossed the street. Derek Lowe and Trot Nixon have transformed me into Bob Beamon circa 1968. There's a lightness, the intuition that some intolerable weight has been shed forever.

So there's nothing wrong with release, but I'd also like to think for a minute about what we've gained.

We've gained a deeper well from which to draw the waters of Good Knowing.

We've finally seen with our own eyes that teams, not stars, win championships. We knew this already in the abstract, but feeling it from the inside out, not just from the skull but from the gut, is marvelously different. We don't need to glue goat horns on any one guy. We don't need to hold any one guy to an impossible standard.

There's a certain pleasure to be derived from thinking that baseball is a lot like life. There's another sort of pleasure to be derived from thinking that it's not like life at all. One's a pursuit; the other's an escape. Both of these pleasures have always been with us. Up until yesterday the former had a way of overshadowing the latter. Now, Red Sox fans have the option of choosing between the two from day to day, and this is an auspicious development. We can choose for ourselves how much baseball matters, and it will be all the sweeter if we decide that it matters as much as it ever has.

We've gained a way of looking at the world in which a few more things seem possible today than seemed possible yesterday.


A couple more thoughts.

It's different rooting for a team when you're roughly the same age as the players you're cheering. You see them as people rather than as icons. You know how hard it must be for them some days. You respect what they've achieved that much more.

Most days I'd be willing to bet that the happiest person I know is Maddie Landaker, turning three this January. Long may she hold the title, but for now it's delightful to sit back and think about just how much competition she has these days.


At 7:39 AM, Anonymous line of credit said...



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