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Summer Memories: The Best Guardian for a Red Sox Game

This weekend Skip and I head back to Fenway Park to take in a ball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. For the record, it is a win-win scenario for me, as the Blue Jays are my second favorite team (after the Red Sox). The very first professional baseball game I’d ever attended was a match-up between these two teams in 1986, the year the Sox went on to win the pennant. (We’ll leave Bill Buckner out of this for now.) At the time, I was more interested in the brown bag of paperwhite narcissus we’d just procured at a market than I was in the game. My Dad and brother had the better seats, by the third base line, while Mom and I were further back. It meant more to them than to us.

Last year I returned to the Green Monster’s lair with Skip, and it was an unexpectedly enjoyable experience. I’m not sure what sort of scene we made, what with the beer, the insults to the other team, and the runway rating I insisted on giving every player as their visage flashed across the screen for each of their at-bats. Surely it was no more incendiary than cutting the entire ‘Thor’ movie line.

I SEE THE DAWN OF A NEW BEGINNING

THIS TIME, THIS TIME WE CAN’T GO HOME

I HEAR THE STREETS OF TOMORROW CALLING

I GO, I GO WHERE YOU GO

‘CAUSE WE BELONG TO SOMETHING

WE BELONG TO SOMETHING NEW

As we sat down for the game, I found myself once again getting philosophical about the whole idea of baseball, its place in our culture, and the attraction that gets an entire park filled with grown adults hooting and hollering like kids at Christmas. Skip explained my various questions on the game itself, while the undulations of the crowd held me transfixed. I wanted so badly to do the wave, but I don’t think they did it that day.

Shaded somewhere behind the third base line, I was taken back to my first Red Sox game, while very much inhabiting the game at hand. Past and present selves existed, and the solitude I so often courted and craved in both childhood and adulthood found momentary abatement in the enjoyment of a friend – and a group – all of us watching the same thing, sharing the same experience,

IN THE MIST OF THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

YOU SAID TO ME

WE ARE, WE ARE A DIFFERENT KIND

OH LIKE WE’VE BEEN KISSED BY HIGHER POWER

SAYING DON’T WAIT, DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S GONE

‘CAUSE WE BELONG TO SOMETHING,

WE BELONG TO SOMETHING,

WE BELONG TO SOMETHING NEW…

Most of my happy summer memories go back to the 80’s, but every once in a while a new one is created, and it gets filed away for those winter days when things can get a little lonely. Ever since last year’s Red Sox trip, Skip has been part of a new summer memory. It’s reminiscent of the days of ‘Stand By Me’ or ‘The Goonies’ when my brother and a friend would join me for an adventure. Most days it was simply riding our bikes around town or traipsing through the woods or racing around the garage if it was raining. Some boyish things are better shared. A baseball game is one of them.

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