To the Man I Touched Today

Dear man in Red Sox gear trying to pick out a movie at the Red Box in the grocery store:

I’m so sorry about Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5. You were just trying to rent a movie. Maybe if you hear my story, you’ll be able to forgive me.

While I lived in Boston, I went to Fenway Park, just as a field trip. I walked in, and my life completely changed. I became a Red Sox fan — a raving lunatic.  That was BEFORE they won the World Series; but as a girl living in this neck of the woods, I’ve had to defend my fandom to everyone. They all assume I’m a bandwagon jumper. All I have to say is that I’m from Boston, and everyone changes their expression. OR, I get asked stupid Red Sox trivia in order for people to leave me alone. You have to admit, when I told you I was from Boston, you relaxed a bit.

Anyway, being a Red Sox fan has entirely different rules in Boston than they do here in the Minneapple. I understand that now.  So, I will say again, I’m sorry.

In Boston, no matter where you are or who you are, regardless of race, sex or orientation, if the Red Sox win, you are allowed to hug complete strangers. A Red Sox win during the playoffs in downtown Boston means standing on your roof with strangers watching fireworks, drinking Sam Adams Oktoberfest and high fiving and hugging.

I distinctly remember running in the dark on Boston College’s campus after a night class to try and get a Red Sox score (before smartphones) because the game was during my class. I ran into a night security guard, who was being dropped off by his wife, and asked the score. He said, “Red Sox won!” I leapt into his arms and hugged him. Not missing a beat, his wife rolled down her window and yelled, “Go Sox!” in a thick Boston accent.

The first time I told my husband that I loved him more than the Red Sox was the first time he realized how much I truly loved him. I even wore a Red Sox garter at our wedding for my something blue.

As a Red Sox fan in the Twins Stadium, I’m not welcome here.  In Fenway, you’re lucky to leave with your life and not covered in beer, pizza and mustard if you cheer for another team.  Therefore, I should be grateful for the standard, passive aggressive mutterings of Twins fans in the Minneapple around me when I jump and scream for the Red Sox.

But I miss the communion of the Red Sox faithful singing “Sweet Caroline” and screaming “Let’s Go Red Sox!”  I NEED it, especially now. We’re in the playoffs; after all that happened in Boston this year and the tragedy that took place in our city, we need to worship together. And as I listen to the ALDS on Boston Red Sox radio to commune with the Red Sox, I’m there. I’m comforted. I’m complete.

I saw you today, in your beautiful, soft Red Sox dark, gray sweatshirt, AND Red Sox hat. You knew we won yesterday, the first post season win since 2008 (and yes, I didn’t have to look that up).

When I saw you, I resisted from hopping into your arms. I just wanted to talk to you. I saw in you a Red Sox faithful.

“12 to 2 yesterday! Wasn’t that awesome?”


When you didn’t respond to my excited attempt at wanting to talk beards and Red Sox, I reached out. I crossed a Minnesota boundary, and touched your arm. I felt how soft your sweatshirt was and knew, just knew, you were a lunatic Red Sox fan deep down inside.

I’m so sorry I kept pushing the conversation. I’m sorry I invaded your space.  But I do hope, that when they won tonight, in the beautiful 3 up, 3 down 9th inning win, you dropped the Minnesotan demeanor and let your passionate, crazy, Red Sox lunatic flag fly.


Becky Billings

Boston Strong


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