It’s Not Easy Being Red

Posted by mwallach on April 14, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere |

Well, it seems the Mets are off to another auspicious start. I do not say that as a Mets fan who is already disappointed and hopes that this season will be less painful than others. I say that as a happy Yankee fan who is happily married to a Mets fan as I wonder aloud, like I do every year, why he just won’t join me in my happiness.

The Yanks started well enough, only to have our satisfaction multiplied tenfold by the Red Sox dismal start. Not since the 1940s had Boston started the season 0-6 and Yankee fans, myself included, rejoiced with each loss. It was not going to last forever but until the ride ended, I posted their increasingly awful record on Facebook, often with a nod to my dad, a rabid Red Sox fan, that I was sorry. If being a Met fan came with certain expected pain, then this was certainly killing my father.

It was a given, however, that this losing streak would end and it could not have happened at a better time. Playing three games against the Yankees last weekend, I told someone I’d be thrilled if we took two out of three. There was no way the Yanks were going to win all three and there was no way Boston fans would have been able to get up Monday morning if their beloved team had been swept. Regardless, it did not happen and the Red Sox not only ended their losing streak, they took two out of three. Victory is sweet, but winning against your greatest rival makes it even sweeter.

I did not really appreciate the significance of being raised a Yankee fan by a man who loves his Red Sox and cannot understand what went wrong if the Patriots did not make it to the Super Bowl during any given year. Yet, as I got older, it became more and more apparent. My father began coming to my home for the weekend wearing a baseball cap with a “B”, his Red Sox pajamas in his suitcase. Sometimes, he even wore his cufflinks which, in his opinion, look great with his Red Sox watch, of which he has three. When he turned 65, my brother and all of our children made a pilgrimage to Boston and went to a game at Fenway in his honor. We promised not to get into any fights, the grandchildren were there after all, but I am not sure we could have kept that promise had they been playing the Yanks. My brother, hulking at 6”3 and around 230 lbs, donned a very large red t-shirt with a white Yankee insignia in the corner – a riff on Red Sox colors meant to annoy any Bostonians near by. I told him to go change, afraid of what could happen, promising not to post bail should something go wrong. He switched his shirt and the rest is history.

More than once, I have received Yankee/Red Sox tickets and have invited my dad and his wife to join us. My being married to a Mets fan is nothing compared to his being married to a Yankee fan. They are welcome to come but the rules are clear. He is not allowed to wear anything over his coat that shows his team affiliation. Sometimes he lets his Red Sox t-shirt that he wears underneath peek thru a little bit, but that’s only if they’ve had a great play. Otherwise, it must stay hidden. He is also not allowed to cheer or say anything that alludes to him being from Boston. Most importantly, he is not allowed to make friends with anyone sitting near us in a Red Sox jersey. ‘As long as you’re in my house, you’re gonna play by my rules’ rings loudly in my ears.

One year, I was given two tickets to a Yankee/Red Sox game and I decided to take my brother. My husband was annoyed with me that my immediate reaction was not to take him. “Take a Mets fan to this game?? What a waste!” I replied. If I’m not going to sit with my dad and enjoy the rivalry, I’ll sit with my fellow fan and enjoy the win. Sitting with a Mets fan who has no business rooting for the Red Sox is simply just a waste of a seat.

MLW

As seen in The South Shore Standard April 2011

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