The last time I was at a Red Sox game was pre-kids. Pre-worrying-about-someone-else’s-bladder-but-mine. Pre-stuffing-vibrating-little-bodies-into-ridiculously-small-sweaty-seats.
The excitement was still there. The awe of the gate rising above Yawkey Way. The hum of my soul resounding with the rest of Red Sox Nation.
The abject terror of someone sweeping my child away in the crowd. The overwhelming desire to wrap my arms around them like a mama bird with her brood. Irritation when they wouldn’t hold my hand. Impatience when they didn’t read my mental directions on how to navigate the milling crowds.
This was my first time leading my babies through the big city. I’d done it myself plenty of times, but leading literal babes through the woods was a new and disconcerting experience.
It also offered many teachable moments.
Telling my ten year-old how to keep her bag close. Telling my five year-old who insisted on bringing my old flip phone with no service not to set it down anywhere. Telling my eight year-old not to wave her mini Dominican flag celebrating the retirement of Pedro Martinez’ jersey dangerously close to fellow fans’ heads.
But also, what a bull pen is. A foul line. Tagging bases. Striking out. How to do the wave.
And it was a way to rediscover the magic of rooting for the Red Sox through my children’s eyes. Seeing the spark when they realize that the guy at the plate right now is Big Papi in the flesh. Sharing the excitement of singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at the top of our lungs. Chanting ‘Let’s go, Red Sox’ in unison.
The Sox may have lost the game, but we’re still a nation of believers. And we may have just clinched the next generation of die-hards. New Englanders live and breathe for their team – whether it’s 1918, 2004, or any year in between.
And that’s worth the whole gamut of sensations that comes with.