When it came to the Sox, we were all buds | SummitDaily.com
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When it came to the Sox, we were all buds

I was hugging strangers while my wife drank bad wine from a beer glass.We flew into Boston the evening of the fourth game of the World Series.The Red Sox had won three in a row from the St. Louis Cardinals. By the time we took a cab from Logan Airport to where we were staying in Charlestown, the game had begun and the Sox were ahead.Charlestown is a working-class section of Boston that has begun to gentrify. Within a half mile, you can find low-income, subsidized housing projects (what some call the Irish ghetto) and million-dollar brownstones. We headed out to find a bar to eat, drink and watch the game.Every pub we passed was packed, crowds spilled onto the streets. We headed away from the wealthy brownstone neighborhood and toward the projects, vowing to stop at the first place with two stools near a television. We almost walked by a bar with no sign on the door. The people whose home we were using that night later told us that after living there for 10 years, they had never found the nerve to enter that bar.My sense was that the crowd was tough, but not dangerous. The only food offered was peanuts and potato chips. So when in Rome …Everyone in the place was dressed in work clothes, Red Sox hats or T-shirts. It didn’t look to be a place that would be known for its fine wines but Ellen insisted I ask. “Give me a Bud and … what type of wine do you serve?”The bartender barked, “Red and white.”People were beginning to stare so I said, “I’ll take a Bud and a glass of red wine.” Without looking up he said, “You sure?”He gave me a Bud and poured Rose wine from a dusty jug into a beer glass. Despite Ellen’s protest, I decided not to point out the difference between red and rose wine. “I swear to Jesus, Jerry if you don’t move your fat head from in front of that TV you’re gonna be wearin’ my beer.”Jerry did indeed have a large head that was partially blocking one of the TV’s. He also had a huge body and looked like the type who would not be wearing someone’s beer without complaint. We turned around to see who issued the threat and saw a middle- aged lady with an unlit cigarette in a mouth containing few teeth. She had a gravel voice, hair too red to be natural and a body only slightly smaller than Jerry’s.Jerry moved.Boston is a town of proud, loud, opinionated people who are as tough as they are masochistic in their devotion of an often frustrating franchise.That night, I felt grateful to be raised there. I thought of my father who used to say that the Red Sox’s yearly hardships were someday going to kill him with a heart attack. His prophesy proved correct just after his 90th birthday. As the Sox continued to lead, the crowd grew boisterous. Strangers hugged and high-fived us with abandoned enthusiasm.At the top off the seventh inning, I began to believe the Red Sox might break that 86-year curse and actually win the pennant. I said as much to Jerry who happened to be standing next to me. He agreed then said, “Youse aun’t townies are ya.” (Townie means a local).For some reason, I was reluctant to tell him we lived in a ski resort in Colorado and were staying in a brownstone on Harvard Place Lane. Rather, I mentioned the nearby town where I grew up which is a lot like Charlestown minus the wealthy section.The Red Sox won two innings later. Big-bodied men and women, many with red hair and red noses, were jumping, dancing, crying and hugging each other.Ellen and I were right there with them. The only difference was the next day we were heading to Martha’s Vineyard, and they were going to work.Lying awake that night at 2 am. I could still hear the celebration in the streets below us. For much of that night, I had felt like an impostor. The only common denominator between me and the people at that bar was the home team.It dawned on me that though I was born and raised less than 20 miles away, I was mostly out of touch with the life and values of much of the rank and file of my own home city.Six days later on Election Day, I was again reminded that I also have a lot to learn about the beliefs and values of a large segment of our nation. I was disappointed and dismayed at a poor showing of my political party. It was a sober wake-up call. But as we Red Sox fans have been saying since 1918, “Just wait ’til next year …”Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at biffbreck@yahoo.com.


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