Boston Red Sox Memories: My Nation
As I reflect upon my two years with BoSox Injection, I feel that I’ll never forget the members of the Nation who made me feel at home.
I will be stepping down as site expert of this web publication as of December 1st, 2016. For personal reasons, I felt that my family and I needed the time away from the site, at least for now. It will make it two years to the day that I signed on for the position.
At first, I wasn’t sure how the people of Boston, specifically the members of Red Sox Nation, would think of a Canadian high school English teacher providing his ‘Mornin’ Chowda’ every day about their favorite team. I thought that maybe I would be rejected for being an outsider, not being a true Bostonian.
Instead, I found that I was so wrong; I discovered that being a Bostonian and a true member of Red Sox Nation is about more than just geographical location or heritage. It’s about bleeding Bostonian red, every day.
I wrote about more than just baseball, because baseball simply knits the fabric that is Boston together. I wrote about Boston Strong. I wrote about a manager whose team rallied behind him when he was struggling with cancer. I wrote about defending Boston’s honor against free agents who came to town for riches but didn’t carry their own weight. Well… at least, not their player performance weight.
I got to speak to famous baseball personalities like Aaron Boone (twice), Doug Glanville, and Rick Sutcliffe. Boone had a ton to say about the Red Sox, enlightening the readers with what to look for in the games. Glanville was definitely providing the Dominican flavor when discussing Big Papi David Ortiz and the rest of the latin players on the Red Sox roster. Sutcliffe was so welcoming and brought myself, and also Red Sox Nation, into his world of baseball analysis, especially concerning young talent like Andrew Benintendi.
Being a Canadian baseball fan, and sports fan in general, it was humbling that I got to speak to ESPN Sunday Night Baseball‘s announcer Dan Shulman. He gave me some great advice, like how to not necessarily worry about the pitching matchups as much as to look at how each individual Red Sox hitter could handle the opposing starter, which made for much more interesting reading.
The biggest thrill, however, was being able to talk shop with Buster Olney. He and I spoke like we had been friends forever. We talked about so many personal stories involving our mutual love of baseball that it felt like second nature to ask his insight into Ortiz and his retirement.
As the weeks progressed this season, I realized that it would be my last time discussing Ortiz, as well. Not only because of his retirement, but also because of the growing need for me to leave. My last article on Ortiz needed to reflect what the man as well as the legend meant to Boston, as Ortiz had so much to do with why I care about the team and the city itself.
Ortiz saying his goodbyes had so much to do with what I felt about Boston and Red Sox Nation. While I would never compare my career to that of Ortiz, Big Papi expressed the same love that I felt for the fans.
I visited Boston with my young family the year before I took on the role as site expert. We did the Fenway Park tour and the city tour on the Old Town Trolly. My son was all of a year old, but he seemed to smile everywhere he looked, like it was home to him. My wife and I held hands and strolled through Quincy Market and all of the other sites to see in the city, not once feeling like the outsiders we thought we were.
Because of our warm reception by all of the Bostonians we met, I made it a point to write early on about that trip, when I came to the web site. My words still ring true today:
The family values and lifestyles seemed so similar. The grind, the cold, the community involvement, the coffee and donuts (Dunkin’ Donuts), the passion for sports and their identity. Becoming a teenager only confirmed it for me, as Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip wore a Bruins sweater in the video for “Courage”. Considering the Hip are pretty much synonymous with Canada and music, it reaffirmed my conclusions that Boston was a kinship […] I felt humbled and happy. I shed a tear, which I was never prone to doing about anything in my life. I couldn’t understand why I did that. Something about the atmosphere of standing in front of The Kid [Ted Williams statue] while holding my son’s hand made it special to me. For the first time, in such a long while, I felt like I was home.
That’s why I can’t be too sad about leaving this web publication; the fans, the team, and the city itself will always be family to me. I will take them everywhere I go for the rest of my life. Even longer, if possible.
When I did this job, I did it like it was a badge of honor on my chest. Boston welcomed me and made me feel at home, just like Ortiz. I don’t feel that tomorrow, being my last official article for the site, should be a sad event for me. It’s not like the Red Sox, Red Sox Nation, or the city of Boston will be leaving my heart any time soon. They have affected and influenced my life, I feel Red Sox red down inside my very bones. That’s something you don’t forget, and I have no intention of forgetting any of you for reading my work and accepting me into your lives every morning for the past two years. Our paths may cross again, never say never; so, keep an eye out for me, would ya?
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