AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Re-Living the 2004 Red Sox and My Grandfather
As the Red Sox get ready to celebrate the 2004 Championship team at Fenway tonight, I thought I would post this column that ran in the Norton Mirror in October of 2004 celebrating that championship. This one is for my grandfather.
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
I never thought I would live to see it.
When the Red Sox stormed the field
in St. Louis Wednesday night after sweeping the Cardinals for their first World
Series championship in 86 years, they did much more than just win a world
title.It was so much more meaningful
and significant than that.
The victory by the Red Sox validated
generations of New Englanders who have lived and died with this institution,
this team that represents not a city, not a state, but an entire region.For so long now this baseball team has been a
symbol of the rugged determination we in the Northeast have, as well as the
frustration we have had to live with for decades.
As I sit here in the immediate
aftermath of something I have waited my whole life to experience, my thoughts
are not of baseball.They are not of the
exciting comeback against the Yankees, the heroics of David Ortiz, the
courageous pitching of Derek Lowe, or the crowning of World Series MVP Manny
No, my thoughts are about friends
and family members who longed to be around for this night, this event, but
could not be here.My thoughts are about
how lucky I am to have been around for this, to have my faith rewarded, and to
be able to share it with those I love.
I think of my grandfather Connie
Houghton, who bought me my first baseball glove when I was too young to know
what hand it went on.He taught me to
love the game, gave me something I could share with him, and instilled in me
the tradition of rooting for your home team and being a real Red Sox fan.
Connie took me to my first Sox game
in 1965.We sat in box seats just a few
rows behind the Boston dugout.The
Kansas City Athletics were the opponents in a doubleheader.We lost both games, Tony Conigliaro hit a
home run in the second contest, and I was officially inducted into Red Sox
Ten years later that nine year-old
kid got to pay his grandfather back a little bit.I got two tickets to the Sox-Oakland playoff
game at Fenway Park, and I had a ton of friends who volunteered to go with me.But there was only one person I wanted to be
with me at that game.And today, it
remains one of the most vivid memories of my life.
I looked around the room as the last
out was recorded Wednesday night, and I will carry those images in my mind
forever.I see my two sons hugging each
other deliriously, and I knew exactly what they were feeling.This was a night, a moment, an experience that
I will always treasure being able to share with them.
Many people who are not sports fans
are nonetheless celebrating this week, because the truth is the Red Sox are
about more than sports.The Red Sox are
as much a part of New England life as the leaves turning color in the fall and
the college students heading home for the summer.
Red Sox fans, your faith and support
has at long last been rewarded.So many
other teams have won the World Series in the past 86 years, and each one of
them had fans that enjoyed it and relished it.
But none of them – not a one – meant
as much to their collective community as the Red Sox.You have to be a real Sox fan to understand
that, but it is true.Our faith, our
perseverance, our very existence has been validated in a way only the faithful
can truly comprehend.
And for one night, I am nine
again.I am holding my grandfather’s
hand as he gazes down at me, smiling the smile that only winners can
flash.All across New England, others
are going through similar moments.
They did it, Connie.Just like you always told me they could.Let’s celebrate.