When you marry a native Red Sox fan, your life changes forever.
When you marry a native Red Sox fan and the Sox make it to the World Series, your world explodes.
I grew up in Virginia, the great state of no team in particular, and so I never followed team sports. But when I married into Red Sox Nation, I no longer had that option.
My husband moved our twin babies and me to his homeland of Massachusetts in 2002 when “the Curse” was still in power. One of the first things we did was walk into Fenway Park and choose between the last two pair of available seats for season ticket purchase. I was sporting my brand new, bright-red Lands End coat that guaranteed warmth in weather as frigid as -34 degrees. It was a massive piece of insulated architecture that weighed a ton. I was wearing a Hyundai. Still, it did the trick and I wore it whenever it was cold outside, which was September through May. So on that day, as I attempted to back my rear bumper into the 15-inch, 91-year-old seats, my husband cruised from one end of the stadium to the other testing the sightlines until he finally made his choice. We were officially season ticket holders.
That year the Sox made it to the ALCS Championship against the damn Yankees. The night of Game 7, the Sox were in New York; my husband was in our bedroom pacing in front of the TV; and the babies were blessedly sleeping. That meant I had a good 3 or 4 hours to enjoy my favorite activity: Peace.
The object of this game was to go downstairs and see what my house looked like with no one in it. I’d sit at the kitchen counter and absorb the nourishing silence like the roots of my one surviving houseplant on the days I remembered to water it. I’d wander from room to room as if I was at a Sunday Open House, viewing a world that wasn’t really mine. Here, I could light scented candles without fear of little ones getting burned. I could read more than two sentences in a row, or simply close my eyes on the couch without someone yanking my hair and demanding snacks or Band-Aids. Oh, how I was beginning to love sports.
The shout came from upstairs … only the word wasn’t actually “muck”.
“Muck, Muck, MUCK!”
My eyes snapped open and all that serenity popped like the bubbles in my much-anticipated bath that were rapidly swirling down the drain.
“Ssshhhh!” I hissed, rushing up the stairs, “Don't mucking wake the babies.”
A glance at the TV screen showed the Sox beating the Yankees by 3 in the bottom of the eighth.
“What’s wrong? They’re winning.”
“They’re about to muck it up,” he growled.
“Oh for goodness sake,” I chirped, “You know they’re going to win.”
Wrong. Thing. To. Say. My husband’s head swiveled my way and daggers shot out of his eyes.
“Why would you say that?! You just jinxed us!”
I rolled my eyes ... and a few minutes later the Yankees tied the game. Then, in the tenth inning, something very bad happened and a very happy Yankee jogged leisurely around the bases to score.
In official sports-speak, that little round-a-bout was called a walk-off home run and apparently I caused it. I also caused Grady Little to keep Pedro pitching way past his prime, which resulted in Aaron Boone hitting said walk-off homer to win the ALCS Championship. I somehow managed all this while standing in my bedroom, 200 miles from Yankee Stadium, wielding nothing but a mucking, positive attitude.
Trust me when I tell you my house was no longer peaceful.
A decade later, my family still refers to that game as the “Adrienne Game.” Grady Little, Bill Buckner and I have learned the same lesson the hard way: Boston never forgets.
Stay tuned for Part Two, in which the babies become teenage superfan fanaticals; our two seats become four seats, and the Red Sox make the 2013 World Series. We’re off to Fenway now for Game 6, where I promise not to say anything good about the Sox … wish me luck ...