Fenway Park turns 100 today. This is big news for the folks here in Massachusetts. And even as a transplant and a baseball outsider (oh, how I love thee, my Orioles), I appreciate the beautiful fusion of history and random numerical calculations that is wrapped up, so baseball-like, in this Red Sox centennial.
I imagine that one day I will tell my daughter that she was around when Fenway Park hit its big birthday. And she will be excited about that.
Because, and this is really hard for me to admit, I recognize that our daughter – our dear, sweet, innocent daughter – might grow up to be a Red Sox fan. Fenway Park might be her park.
I will still love her. Motherhood is all about forgiveness.
It has taken a while for us to reach this level of acceptance. (The first step, you know.)
When we were contemplating the move north from our hometown of Baltimore, my husband insisted that no way, no how, would any child of his grow up rooting for anyone other than our O’s.
(So, a friend replied, you’re teaching her to stay in a bad relationship, no matter how many times she’s let down?
Which was a good point for.... well, the last decade or so. But check out the standings now, Mister.)
But now that we are here, in this strange state where the team is named after a clothing item that usually stinks and gets lost behind the washing machine, and a mascot that is a random green fuzzy thing, we realize that we might have to bend.
Baseball, we realize, is bigger than team rivalries. Kinda like parenthood.
The summer night memories, the games of catch with mom or dad, the peanut shells you’re allowed to toss on the floor - these are all fleeting, beautiful, moments of connection.
Baseball gives treasured minutes, or even hours, when a family can sit together – off the iPhone or laptop, away from homework, in the stands or around the radio or in front of the television – all cheering for the same goal.
A silly goal, perhaps. (And an expensive one, too, I might interject. Have you seen what tickets to Fenway cost these days? No wonder all those Sox fans invade Oriole Park.)
But a together goal.
As so, as parents, we have come to accept that when our daughter grows into her team – when she starts memorizing on base percentages and ERAs, when she insists on showing up early for batting practice and the chance to get a player’s signature, when she becomes aghast that we (or her grandparents) have tossed out old dusty boxes of baseball cards that were cluttering up a basement – we will root along side her.
So happy birthday, Fenway Park. We’ll learn to love you. Or at least accept that you’ll give our daughter happiness.