Now you know what it feels like to be a fan.
It occurs to me, even at the quarter-life age of 24, that this year’s group of college freshmen were largely born in nineteen-ninety — to say nothing of you high schoolers.
That means that 2003 seems like a million years ago. That means you weren’t born in 1986.
With the success of the Red Sox, Patriots and now the Celtics in our Generation Y and Z lifetimes, we’ve not only become spoiled, we’ve become inundated with this new expectation that Boston has to win every year.
Don’t forget that the Celtics were a joke throughout most of our formative years. The Patriots were a bigger joke. Most living fans waited their entire lifetimes for the Red Sox to win a World Series.
We’ll lament together and hold hands at the bonfire of our baseball season going up in flames and — gasp — we might cheer for the Phillies on Wednesday. But don’t feel too bad about this loss. It sucks. It blows. Screw Tampa Bay and its fan base that stood strong at three fans last year. All that jazz. But don’t feel too bad.
In 1986 and 2003 we felt bad. We felt demoralized. All our hopes were crushed. Dreams were gone. The sun refused to shine in Boston for weeks after game 6 in 1986 and then Aaron-bleeping-Boone’s homer in 2003 opened up all kinds of wounds.
Some of you younger fans may feel that way tonight. I don’t. I think a lot of our parents will agree. Sure, it’s too bad we lost, but we lost to a better team. We lost to a group of straggly young rejects and journeymen who got together and formed something special. That’s how the Sox won in 2004, and we have nothing to be ashamed about by losing to the Rays.
With this new winning tradition comes a sad yet sure realization: sometimes we don’t.