On the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park’s first game, here are some thoughts on the stadium – and life – from the Terrific Girlfriend (aka @ladywezen)…
When I was 9 years old, my parents took my sisters and me to Fenway Park. We didn’t have a lot of money and even back then a trip into Boston for a game was still spendy. Not to mention the fact that, if I’m the oldest at 9 years old, my 3 younger sisters were still pretty young (while we were prone to mischief, we were well behaved girls) and carting your kids around, especially Boston in the 1980’s, could get tiresome. I always have been, and always will be, grateful for the sacrifices that my parents made. When the Sox were in the World Series, we were allowed to stay up late (though I never made it past 8 p.m.). Even though the Sox lost, my sisters and I prolonged that season by playing “World Series” in the back yard. Somehow, “My Little Pony” and obstacle courses were involved too – which, looking back on it was rather a bit strange, but, you know what? If you don’t have an active imagination, you’re an idiot.
For the life of me, I want to say that it was in July that we went, but I could be wrong. One of my younger sisters got a baseball with a shiny puffy Red Sox logo on it. It was later lost and I think it was probably my fault (which truly haunts me to this day, along with losing my other sister’s Barbie in the woods at Stanley Park – I was an expert at Barbie catapults). Anyway, what matters most was that it was a big deal. We sat under the Polaroid sign and we thought it was the most magical thing ever. Part of my love for “Field of Dreams” comes from the fact that they filmed it not long after our first visit so it serves as a ‘living photograph’ of what I experienced that day. “Field of Dreams” was also the movie I was watching the night before my father died in 1996, ten years after our visit.
In any case, my father was a forward looking kind of guy. He wanted us girls to grow into strong and independent women, to learn how to face our demons, work through problems, and conquer things bigger that we are. He wanted to teach us that age is just a number and that you’re only as old as you feel. He went to Boston University in the 1960s, was a music teacher and, later, returned to school for a Masters in Computer Science in the early 90’s and was working on his Ph.D when he passed away.
I don’t like to hold on to memories too much or dwell on the passing of my father. However, James T. Kirk said something wise about this, “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life”. When I look at Fenway, I see my dad and what he held dear to him. Maybe it’s because I think that dad is chatting up a storm with Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams in baseball heaven but I feel close to my dad again.
Just because something is old doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. More importantly, holding on to the past can prevent you from fully living in the present. Just like my dad going back to school because he wanted to, because he envisioned a life and future for himself. Sure, Fenway is 100 years old but, considering it’s limitations, the Red Sox have done an amazing job of it and should be commended. They should also keep an eye on the future because there may come a time when the current stadium might not work anymore, but a brighter future (an undiscovered country in terms of ballpark design) may await.
I’ve mentioned before about baseball’s romanticism of youth and going back to when we were all young and how it drives me nuts when fans bemoan certain aspects, “IN MY DAY WE PLAYED IN THE DARK!!!”. Sure it’s fun but really it doesn’t do any good. We get older, things break, people die, but as long as we exchange our quest for a fountain of youth for one of wisdom and a desire for the future, we’ll be alright. We end up staying young as a result.
Lastly, I’m grateful that I finally have more recent memories of Fenway. In 2008, my sweet fella took me on an anniversary trip. It was different than I remembered (obviously) some for better, some for worse. I never felt compelled to return until I had someone special with me. Fenway has such a deep, deep place in my heart that I didn’t want to give it up for some loser. Some people feel that way about restaurants and songs, I feel that way about baseball stadiums. Although my fella and my dad had never met, being at Fenway with him felt right, that my dad was giving a cosmic stamp of approval.
So Fenway, happy birthday. Red Sox fans, happy birthday to you too. And thank you.