sweet spot



Today’s teens will have trouble appreciating the kind of history that was made in baseball last night; the year “1918” is a lot like the number “trillions” – it’s nearly impossible to wrap your head around it. Maybe three or four Red Sox fans still alive remember anything about their last World Series. Tessa’s dad, who was eight when the Sox won the series in 1918, might have remembered, but he died, alas, the week after 9/11.

Everyone thinks they love the underdog, but Americans rarely stick with them. Most U.S. sports fans love the Yankees and the Lakers, which, to me, is like cheering for the sun to rise. I always prefer teams with character and pluck, like the Denver Nuggets, the Baltimore Orioles and the New Orleans Saints. I’m guaranteeing myself a future with no world championships, but I can live with that. Thank God for the Tar Heels, or else I’d never know what it’d be like to win. Our 1993 Championship seems like an odd dream.

The Curse of the Bambino is weirdly apt for my family, being a combination of sports failure and musical theater. The owner of the Red Sox traded away Babe Ruth to get some money to put “No, No Nanette” (containing the song “Tea for Two”) on Broadway. Mixed with the execrable “Damn Yankees,” it is a cautionary tale about mixing baseball with prissy musicals.

The Curse holds a lot of sway throughout the history of literature, but The Lifting of the Curse is an even more satisfying narrative. Found in the Bible, hundreds of children’s stories and even in the quiet redemption of every fat person meeting their target weight, a curse lifted is, like rain and babies, one of the lasting gifts from the Gods.

And so we lived long enough to see it for the Red Sox. Honestly, my heart has always been with the Orioles and the Mets, but I appreciate how excruciating it has been for the Bosox. It’s been said that George Will is such a nasty conservative because of the Chicago Cubs losing streak; perhaps they’ll be next.

In this age of The Unthinkable Happens, it’s nice to know that some unthinkable things are actually positive. In the midst of the Unthinkable Presidency, still charred from the Unthinkable Terrorist Attack, in an era when records fall, old friendships die, cruelty has no abatement, and we all live under the threat of a kind of digital mercilessness, it was humbling to experience this game. Under a lunar eclipse, it was truly once in a red moon.

note: the “Nanette” story is wrong; click here for a fascinating story about the Curse – thanks, Isaac!