Time to move the Red Sox shirts out of my drawer and really commit to football season. At least in the modern era of Red Sox choke lore, I can rest knowing that when I die, I lived to see the Red Sox win the World Series title. Twice. Generations of New Englanders died never experiencing that sweet moment when the last out is executed and the realization sinks in that you are world champions (well, North American champions). Still, it was hard to have this conversation when Jack woke up (uncharacteristically) at 6:15 this morning:
Jack (voice too enthusiastic for pre-alarm clock): Mommy, did the Red Sox win?
Me (eyes closed): No.
Jack: But Tampa Bay lost?
Me (pulling covers over head): No.
Jack (voice laced with a familiar disappointment): But I thought this was finally the season that I was going to see the Red Sox make it to the World Series.
Jack has lived through the same two World Series titles that I have, but in 2004 he was three and cared more about Tonka trucks. Even in 2007 he was only six and while he was watching games, I think the season takes on new meaning once you start playing little league, learn to keep score, and can identify players. But now in 2011, the poor baby has no idea that he has just joined the ranks of many an anguished sports fan. Yeah, it burns.
Now that baseball season is over for me, maybe the weather will finally stop acting like it’s August and remember it’s fall. I have a hard time making my very special warm cheesy bean dip that I’m known for by legions of football fans in multiple states when the temperatures are hovering around 84 degrees with 96% humidity.
I love baseball – and for an OCD person like myself I mean I love the ritual of baseball. (I make Nomar Garciaparra look well adjusted.) But I really enjoy the mechanics of football better. I prefer the faster pace. I prefer the presence of a clock. I prefer the element of strategy. And I certainly prefer Tom Brady to any baseball player to come along since Steve Sax (who played in the days before it was de rigueur to resemble a cave man under your batting helmet).
Football season. Fewer than 20 regular season games. Your teams plays once a week; there’s none of the being neurotic for 160+ days a year baseball inflicts. When people say about baseball that the first few weeks of the season don’t count, they’re wrong. If the Sox had won one more game in April, our guys would be on their way to Florida for a one-game playoff instead of to Boston to pack up for the winter.
So the Pats might have rolled over to the Bills this past weekend. Or maybe the Bills are for real. My original favorite football team is back on the rise, though I can’t look at a 49ers uniform without sliding into a reverie of the Joe Montana-Steve Young eras. I’m in one of those “easy” draft-free fantasy leagues where you just make your picks on the winners each week. This weekend will be comfortable football weather in DC. There’s hope for an exciting season ahead. Who needs baseball?
At some point in the doldrums of winter, I’ll be longing to hear an umpire call, “play ball” but for now I’m happy to instead be focused on false starts, two-point conversions and roughing the passer calls. Daydreaming, of course, about roughing my own favorite passer. I’m sure Gisele won’t mind.