From zero to hero, just like that

By Taylor Nealand
Staff Writer

 

Eighty-six dreadful years went by before the Boston Red Sox won a World Series. The Curse of the Bambino haunted the team, and fans dreaded the painful heartbreak each year as the Sox lost over and over again.

Fans stuck by the team, but to outsiders, the Boston Red Sox were a joke. Unable to break “the curse,” the team was nothing more than a letdown.

“Being a fan back then, you stuck with it, you suffered through, but somehow it made you a stronger, kinder, and more humble person, no less enthusiastic about winning…or sinning,” said Jane Forrestal, a resident from Antrim, NH.

But that all changed in 2004 when the Sox came back during the ALCS Championship in game 4 and brought hope to the fans once again. Skeptical that their hearts would be broken for what felt like the millionth time, fans prayed that that year would be different, and it was. Their heartbreak was swept away when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and broke the 86-year-old curse.

Since winning in 2004, the Sox have won two more World Series, putting them at three wins in the past decade. Winning has become a newfound tradition for this Boston team, but fans will never take this glorious feeling for granted.

“In my younger years, being a Red Sox fan was like being at CCD in the Catholic Church of my youth, and attending mass. God bless the Sox,” said Forrestal.

“They taught me that patience pays off, loyalty means something, and if you say enough Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers and Acts of Contrition, someday, all will be forgiven and Heaven’s reward will be yours!” she added.

This year too was a special one for the Boston team, as they won the last game of the series at Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years.

“I was raised to be a Red Sox fan! My nana was a die-hard Sox fan who taught me all about the game from the time I was in kindergarten, and I used to love watching games with her,” said Rebecca Rutter, a lawyer from Derry, NH. “I was so grateful that she lived to see the Sox break the curse in 2004, so we could rejoice together.”

Fans of the Red Sox are notorious for putting their all into the team. Tattoos of the team’s “B,” children’s names, and first dates are all commonly dedicated to the Sox.

“The Red Sox are simply a religion around here,” said Mitch Gainer, a prior bartender at Lansdowne Pub. “You can root for another football or basketball team, nobody will hate you for it. But through those 86 years, Sox fans built up this ‘go hard or go home’ fandom that is unlike any other. Losing 3-1 in the ALCS; we still believe. Losing a World Series on a ground ball most little leaguers can field; we’ll never forgive you. I’ve been a Sox fan all my life, out of the 59 baseball hats I own 19 of them are red Sox ones. I couldn’t imagine being from here and it being any other way.”

Another highlight of the season is the 360-degree turn the team took from start to finish. The phrase “worst to first” has stuck with this year’s team and has become the slogan of the 2013 season.

Ending their 2012 season in last place, many had little hopes for this year’s season, but like always, Sox fans filled Fenway Park to see the team play. And the rest is history.

“I became a Sox fan at a young age because baseball was my life and the Red Sox were the team we saw on TV. I got to go to Fenway at least once a year when I was younger,” said Dave Duval, a resident of Francestown, NH. “The curse was what changed Red Sox fans. To that point there always seemed to be a reason we could not get over that last hurdle.”

Fans will never forget that 86-year stretch of pain and loss they felt over the team they couldn’t help but love. But for now they’re going to go on and enjoy the feeling of winning, and enjoy it some more, and some more, and some more.

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