My name is Todd and I am a Red Sox fan.
For 86 years that is the way Bostonians opened 12-Step meetings.
For years, that particular affliction (being a Red Sox fan) is handed down from generation-to-generation like sickle cell anemia or male-patterned baldness. It wasn’t something people generally picked to be a part of, because if you actually got to choose a baseball team or an affliction, one would choose a team with say 27 world titles?
In spite of 86 years of heartache and discontent, I still was proud of being a Red Sox fan, the same way one would be proud of Davey Crockett at the Alamo or proud of Custer as he was given his final haircut.
Most Red Sox fans even found was to take heartbreak and wear it like a badge of honor, instead of a serious cardiac disability. Tragic tales of pennants lost were penned by men in tweed jackets with patches on their sleeves, while poet laureates waxed about the slings and arrows of bunts and batting averages. Years passed and names like Icarus, Sisyphus and Job were often substituted in classic tales of woe by Enos Slaughter, Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner in tragic Red Sox lore.
Simply put, for 86 years it wasn’t that hard to be Red Sox fan. One just had to expect the worst — the very worst imaginable — like balls going between legs as champagne glasses were being filled, Eephus pitches that still defy the laws of gravity and Aaron Boone’s weak little “Boon Shot” that again left the six primary states that make up Red Sox Nation with results that left souls as cold and unforgiving as shoreline at Bar Harbor.
And then everything changed in 2004.
A scroungy group of outcasts and misanthropes, (along with the help of a couple of Cy Young winners and MVP recipients) armed only with a bloody socks and a manifest destiny, delivered all of New England back to glory. First it was past the great Satan in New York, releasing the ghost of George Herman Ruth to again walk freely through the Fens, and then over the St. Louis, the best team in baseball that year, felling the memory of championships given away in Game 7s many decades before.