What is it that Bon Jovi line? You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home? While I feel like it would be more accurate to swap those clauses, I get the sentiment. Going to school in Virginia has made me realize just how much of a Bostonian I truly am. I was born and raised just outside of Boston, so while I still maintain that “r” is a letter in the alphabet, there are elements of a Boston breeding that I did not escape. I have an affection for Massholes with Sox stickers plastered all over the back of their cars and I struggle to come up with synonyms for “bubbler” (apparently what I’m searching for in normal-speak is “water cooler”). The habit Southern gentleman have of holding doors open surprises me every time, and for Pete’s sake, just know you’re better off trying to count the stars on a cloudless night than trying to keep track of how many times I say wicked in a day. So you know that when a family friend gave us seats two rows back to a Sox-Rangers game at Fenway, not only was I deliriously excited to be so close to Ortiz, but I was sure as heck going to touch the ground of the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use.
Not to mention that Fenway is the site of the 2004 World Series, the end of a very long 86 years that hung over the heads of even the youngest fan. Yes, I sometimes blame Bill Buckner’s 1986 error for my premature wrinkles. (If this were true it would be extremely unfair because not only was I not alive in 1986, but I also do not have wrinkles. However, as a longtime Sox fan, I feel justified, and occasionally still blame him for bad hair days).
As I headed to the Sox-Rangers game, I was not thinking of Buckner; rather I was busy proudly sporting the Ortiz T-shirt that I got in fifth grade in honor of that amazing World Series Win. (Don’t do the math on how old I was when I stopped getting any taller). Both of my brothers had invested in Martinez T-shirts at the time; I pride myself on my foresight that Manny was too busy taking phone calls in the Green Monster to last as long as Big Papi. Unfortunately, my favorite player, Jason Varitek didn’t make it as long as Papi either, but that might have been a good thing, because there is no telling what I would have done if only two rows separated me from him. Okay, I probably would have just cried preposterous tears of joy.
Here’s the thing about being preposterous though: a lot of life amounts to doing stupid things without looking stupid. Example: When you cry because you’re so close to Varitek, you simply pretend that you have horrible allergies. Boom, not stupid. But if you can’t manage to keep yourself from looking stupid, at least do it while no one is looking. That’s why I decided to wait to casually touch the field until the cute Fenway employee was engaged trying to keep other fans out of the batting cage. Wait till he looks away…I leaned over the fence and reached down as far as I could…a little further; the fence was taller than I initially thought. Or maybe my fifth grader arms were just shorter than I imagined. I could feel myself getting dangerously close to tumbling onto the field (so close actually that my dad grabbed my ankle as a preventative measure–all I can see that doing is making a ridiculous situation even more ridiculous once two people fall onto the field) when finally, my fingertips grazed the ground. Cleverly, to avoid looking like an idiot whose arms were too short to touch the ground to anyone watching (which they weren’t), I grabbed exactly three pieces of gravel. I’ve done it!
“I saw you struggling over here..Do you want me to scoop you up a cup so you don’t kill yourself trying to get a pinch?” The cute employee has spotted me. Damn it all. My clean getaway was a fantasy. But I smile and tell him that would be great as I hand over my empty soda cup. So I didn’t manage to slip under the radar and it was too late to pretend I was a clueless French tourist, but at least I got a free piece of Fenway for it. Truth be told, I’d risk falling onto Fenway any day, because after the initial embarrassment wore off, it’d be pretty freaking cool.