So many of my dreams involved Boston. Make Way for Ducklings is my favorite children’s book. When I felt like my whole life was in a tailspin in 2011, Boston was the escape. It was so easy to imagine hopping on the 90 and driving east until the road ended. I applied to a handful of MFA poetry programs in Boston. When that didn’t work out, I lamented moving to Boston anyways…and then when that didn’t happen, I thought maybe after finishing grad school would be the solution.
But then life happened. And life took me south instead of east for a while. I loved D.C. for the same reasons I love Boston – history and modernity, lots of things to do for whatever weird obsession I picked up this week, good food and plenty of libations to be had, sports (even though I actively dislike most Boston and at least one of the D.C. teams), easy to get to and to escape when I needed to, among many other parts of both cities.
In 2014, when we found out that life would be sending us to New England for a while, the first thing I did was start planning a weekend trip to Boston. Since then, I’ve made the short drive up to the 617 an assortment of times for an assortment of events, but the one bucket list item that has always eluded me was a Red Sox home game.
Yes, I heard that record scratch in your mind too.
I became a baseball fan in the 90s, in the heyday of the Yankees, so being from (Central) New York, I naturally grew up as a Yankees fan. Even before that, I think that hating the Red Sox was in my blood – despite my late grandfather being a huge fan of the Sox. But there’s just something about great ballparks that make all of those things not matter.
So I finally got to a game at Fenway. And it is everything I love about ballparks. The history there. It’s small and as intimate as a sports arena can be. I love the traditions every team has, and even though I felt a little dirty as a lifelong Yankees fan, you bet that I was singing along to Sweet Caroline as loud as I could. The Red Sox won. And I’m sure my Papa was looking down and cheering along with the rest of the crowd.
I wanted to be able to catch a few games on this trip – is there anything like a baseball game with a hot dog and a cold beer on a warm late summer night? Unfortunately we only have two planned stops in baseball cities – and all those teams are out of town when we are coming through.
But you know what? I am pretty satisfied that our baseball summer started and ended with Fenway.