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Marc Mason is a freelance writer based in Tempe, AZ.

Saturday, October 30, 2004  

I’ve been away for a little while, attending to some personal business, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention to the pop culture-sphere. I’ve been faithfully following LOST, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, and SCRUBS. I’ve made time for BEST WEEK EVER. Sirius’ satellite radio channels are now on Dish Network, so I’ve been listening to excellent commercial free radio through my television. I’ve devoured the DVDs of THE PUNISHER and FARENHEIT 9/11. I’m not laying down on the job.

But none of it compared to the nights of Sunday, October 17 through Wednesday, October 27.

Watching the Red Sox complete the single greatest comeback in sports history and go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series is one of those things I will remember for the rest of my life. Seeing this event happen, absorbing the awe-inspiring stories that took place on and off the field- it was a truly priceless experience.

My earliest experience with the Red Sox and their curse came in 1975, before I was fully cognizant of what it was all about. What I did know was that my grandfather and I were big Cincinnati Reds fans, and they played a hugely tough series against Boston and won in seven games. I had no clue how much that would have devastated New Englanders at the time. Then 1986 rolled around.

In high school, one of my favorite friends was a guy named Alan Ely. Alan was a jock, but an unusually witty one. He was as amiable a personality as I’ve met in my life to boot. And like me, he loved all sports, perhaps none so much as baseball. And we both had an abiding appreciation for the New York Mets of that era. Doc Gooden, Keith Hernandez, the rest of them… they were a gas to watch, and at the time, the public had no clue of just what fuckups they were behind the scenes. So even though Alan had graduated the spring before the series, we were both cheering hard for the Mets. And the Sox?

The fuckers were a strike away from being eliminated by my beloved California Angels in the playoffs. One. Fucking. Strike. I was aware of The Curse at that point, and when the Sox finished off my team, I hoped and prayed for The Curse to live on. And thanks to stupid managerial decisions, it would for another eighteen years.

But time passes and your outlook changes and fate intervenes. Alan is lost young to cancer, leaving behind a wife and new baby. Eventually, I fall ass over teakettle in love with a diehard Red Sox fan. You watch her and feel her pain as the Sox fall short again in 2003. Then your hometown team trades your favorite player, one of the best playoff pitchers in baseball history, to her ballclub, and you find yourself following the team right with her. And then they do the impossible and come back against the Yankees. And then they allow generations of New Englanders to die in peace when they dominate their way to the title.

So it became a dual victory in a way. Sometimes, you realize just how much you love someone simply by watching how they feel about things that have nothing to do with you. Feeling her relief and relaxation after the Sox recorded the final out on Wednesday was worth any price. When I mess up, I at least have the capability of trying to do something about making her feel better. This one has been out of my hands. I am grateful to this bunch for picking her, and the rest of Red Sox Nation, up and carrying their broken hearts home and mending them. Now, and hopefully forever, the rest is up to me.

3:29 PM

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