The Red Sox lost…and thats okay with me.

October 14, 2005

If youre a Yankees fan, theres really no need to rub it in. I know the deal. We lost. We were swept, no lessthree in a row. Couldnt even survive the first series. I know;

I watched the games and cringed at the replays. So you dont have to boast that the Red Sox have finally been put back in their place.

There are the people out there who will breathe a sigh of relief, feeling much more comfortable with the recent string of baseball-related events. They will sleep more soundly at night knowing that the natural order of athletics has now been restored after its one year session of imbalance. And yet the more dedicated and sensible fan might see things differently.

Perhaps this season was a changing season for the mentality of Red Sox Nation. Of course it remains true that last year was our long-awaited year. Last year we learned that were not always going to be the underdogs and were not always going to be the chumps who give it all up in the ninth inning with a ball through the legs or a dropped fly. But could it be possible that this year we learned something greater than all that? Call me crazy, but I think that this was the year that the people of Red Sox Nation learned how to be normal baseball fans.

Watching games in 2005, I heard less Yankees suck! chants coming from the crowd. Of course, that one is a classic and will never die, but the frequency has gone down. This is good. We spent more time enjoying Mannys one-liners and David Ortizs Comcast commercials than we did Jeter and A-Rod-bashing. There were some brawls, but the worst injury coming out of Fenway this summer was during the Rolling Stones concerts when a girl decided to take a dive from the roof.
This year, the famous Boston fans finally learned what it feels like to have won. Initially, that meant celebrating in the streets, buying championship t-shirts and declaring October 27, 2004 the greatest day of their lives. But what happened after that?

This year, we entered the season in uncharted territory. So perhaps weve spent the season gaining some much-needed class. We know how to win;

weve done it before. We can add Thrill of Victory to our list of sensations alongside the age-old Agony of Defeat. We are no longer those fatalistic fans who expect to go home brokenhearted. Now, when we watch our team run out onto the field, we root for them to win not because we are desperate to break a curse. The curse (if you believe in it) is broken. Weve learned to be fans free from our lengthy history.

We started the year out on top. Now weve been pushed down a few notches. So I think that soundly qualifies us as normal. Were no longer the best, but hey, were certainly no longer the annual screw-ups. And for Red Sox Nation, this is a feat unto itself. You dont have to bother reminding us that we lost, because its ok. We wont get defensive. We wont sit in the corner and cry. Having undergone this alteration myself this past season, Ive got to say, being a more normalized baseball fan feels pretty good. I didnt lose sleep, or my appetite, over the games this year. The great wins were still a high, but the losses were less of a low. There were none of those horrible feelings gurgling around in the pit of my stomach when it looked like the end was near. And I liked it. Who knew that being a Red Sox fan could be so simple?

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