I was talking with a friend who still describes himself as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan about the fact that I always seem to pick the losing sports team, and it’s starting to become part of my identity. I avoid filling out March Madness brackets for fear of taking down some poor Cinderella that otherwise would show promise. I’ve even learned to become excited when my team manages to score, as I’ve given up on winning.
I always seem to pick the losing sports team, and it’s starting become part of my identity.
I’m sure it wasn’t always this way. As a toddler crawling around my parent’s suburban New York apartment in the early 1970s, when the “Miracle Mets” dominated the scene, I picked the orange and blue as my own. I still remember my first Mets hat, a hard plastic batter’s helmet that eventually developed a large crack.
Now, I often describe myself as as a recovering Mets fan.
"Why not the Yankees?" asked my friend, whose allegiance to the Dodgers assured me that he understood my dilemma.
But really, he was asking: Why not just choose a winning team and stick with it?
In truth, my biggest fear is that I’ll jump on a fan bandwagon only to watch that wagon crash and burn, then I’ll have to find another.
My kids seem to understand this perfectly. They all follow their mother’s footsteps in rooting for the Red Sox and hope that my reputation as “destroyer of dreams” will take down the pinstriped boys to the south.
It hasn't worked out that way.
A few years ago, my wife professed her love to me. Of course, the love she was really expressing was for Fenway Park. During a Patriot's Day game in the grandstand, armed with tickets given to us by a friend, she beamed as she watched her team take the field. A full grin on her face, she turned to me and said, "This is my favorite place in all of Boston."
Armed with this knowledge, I set about getting my wife the perfect present for all her work in creating my son’s Bar Mitzvah: three sets of tickets to her beloved Red Sox so she could take each of our children to a game. I viewed this as a way for her to share her love of the place — not to mention the fun of jumping on the T in Newton Centre, walking with the crowds as they exited the Green Line, moved up Brookline Avenue and onto Yawkee Way. My wife and whichever child was in tow would look up at the over-sized baseball cards in the windows of the shops designating the lineups, hear the hawkers offering programs and smell the sausages as they sizzled on the carts.
As far as I was concerned, I purchased an experience.
But to my wife, I purchased three losses. Her Sox lost all three games.
And therein lies the problem: If I buy tickets, the Sox lose.
To test this theory, my wife bought her own seats to a game. Her Sox came away victorious. She tested that again a year later, and her boys took the day.
Then it was my turn again. Last year, thanks to a lucky raffle bid, I snagged two pretty sweet seats. My wife and I met at Fenway on a a wonderful, if cold, spring evening. And down went the Red Sox.
...my biggest fear is that I’ll jump on a fan bandwagon only to watch that wagon crash and burn, then I’ll have to find another.
Remember the game commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park? The one they lost to the Yankees? I bought tickets to that game, too.
It has now been determined: I’m a pox on the Sox. At least, I am when I buy the tickets. My attendance at Fenway seems to have no impact on the game's outcome. A friend invited me last season, and the Sox won.
I like the Red Sox well enough, but I don’t love them the way I loved the Mets as a kid. Because, let’s be honest, we don’t choose our teams, our teams choose us.
Which brings us back to the original question. Why not the Yankees?
That's easy. Because they’re the Yankees.