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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The World Series, The Red Sox, and My Dad

Sports has a way of connecting people. A common bond among strangers. A love for a team passed down through generations. Celebrating a win over the water cooler with co-workers.

My dad loved sports. He was a fan of the 4 major sports teams in the Boston area: Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins. He followed them all and rooted for them all, but he was extra passionate about the Red Sox.

He played baseball from early on and continued playing softball in the military on base teams. I wanted to be like him and attempted to play softball in school. I touched on his love of sports on the eulogy I wrote.

As I mentioned, he was a huge Red Sox fan. His father was a huge Red Sox fan. And I'm sure his father's father was a Red Sox fan as well. I am my father's daughter; therefore, I too, am a Red Sox fan.

Sports was my connection with my dad. That thing we had. I couldn't, and didn't, play softball well at all, but I could sure talk about the Red Sox (or Celtics, or Bruins, or Patriots) with my dad.

When my dad joined FB our conversations became even more centered around sports. He was a coach from home - critiquing the game and coaches' decisions from the first play. He let his opinions be known of trades that happened during the season and during the off-season.

A glimpse into some of our FB conversations:

Feb 2011: Me to my Dad: I know you've wanted the Celtics to trade Perkins, so you're probably happy about that ... but Nate Robinson too? He was productive coming off the bench for Rondo; they shouldn't have traded him. And w/Shaq's injuries they really need another big man with KG.

Dad: What, he was traded? Let me check this out. I didn't hear this till you posted it. I wanted a big man in the middle. I didn't want Robinson traded but now that West is back, he is just as good.

Aug 2011: Dad: I thought we had a chance to come back but not now after Napoli hit that home run. CJ Wilson owns the Red Sox. (I have to laugh at finding this one because Napoli was on the Red Sox this year and helped them win the WS.)

Apr 2012: Dad: Bowden is a young starting pitcher that started with the sox last year. He only pitched 3 inning this year and gave up 2 hits and one run and was sent down to aaa. Marlon Byrd is an outfielder with 3 singles in 43 at bats this year. The point I was making is that we don't need any more outfielders, we need any kind of pitching. I know we have 2 starters on the dl from the outfield but we have AAA to bring any up if we need one, but not to trade for one and have another contract.

It was 3-0 when I started this post. Now they are losing 4-3 after the post. We don't have one reliable starter. Doubront seems to be doing the best. Their last starting pitcher.

The only 3 doing good on offense are Aviles, Sweeney, and Ortiz. Ortiz is leading the a.l. in batting average.

That is what I'm missing from my dad during the different sport seasons.

My dad has a brick at Fenway Park (as does his father), he was buried in a Red Sox jersey and Red Sox hat in his hands. He has this at his grave site.

  A lifelong and forever fan...

So when the Red Sox won the World Series last week it was bittersweet. As a fan I was ecstatic. As my father's daughter I missed sharing that moment with him. It was hard not being able to talk to him, to hear the shared excitement in his voice, to picture the smile on his face as he likely would have said something like, "Wow Michelle, they did it! Another World Series! It took almost all my life to see them win 1 World Series and now they have 3 in 10 years!" to re-hash the Series. It made me miss him even more. It brought back the reality of him being gone.

When the Sox won in 2004 my dad sent me a World Series t-shirt and commemorative baseball.
When they won again in 2007 he sent me a couple more commemorative baseballs from the post-season.
Now they've won in 2013 and there won't be anything else coming from my dad this time. Bittersweet.

They finished in last place last season. They had a manager and players that just didn't mesh well. Which, in a way, might have been sort of fitting since my father passed away in July of that year. I wouldn't have felt like celebrating any post-season play last year.

But this team, this bunch of bearded-clad players ... my dad would have enjoyed them. He would have liked the players they brought in. He would have liked the coach. He would have liked their never-quit attitude. He would have liked their personalities. He would have liked the team mentality.

I guess he still did enjoy this team and this season and this World Series win ... it was just in a different place than here. And he got to enjoy it with his father. I know they were celebrating together.

Even though my dad is no longer here, I guess we do still have that thing, that connection between us. We still have it because I won't be able to watch the Red Sox without thinking of my dad.

Thank you, Red Sox, for knowing how to bring together a city, and also for making this daughter, who is missing her father, feel just a little bit closer to him.

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Kerri Ames said...

Oh Michelle, your love for your father is so incredible. I admire how you express your grief but more importantly your love. I think he was watching and probably dancing with the drop kicks :)

Anonymous said...

I should never read your posts before going to work. I was thinking of you,thinking of your dad, when I heard the Red sox won the world series. I know you miss him. Love mom

Meg said...

Beautiful tribute to your dad and your great relationship with him.