Our regular Thursday blogger has jumped ship to Friday for this week. In his stead, we offer a post from our newest contributor. This essay was written on September 11.
Some essential ideals are so deeply ingrained into our individual and collective psyche that we rarely take time to plumb their true depths. Today is 11 September, so of course patriotism and America rank high in my current list of communal concepts for consideration, but they’re not alone, and have made me ponder some other big words, important words, words so integral to our humanity that we occasionally dishonour them with inattention— or, equally harmfully, with thoughtless or unblinking focus.
Where I’m from is complicated, but I spent many of my formative years in Boston, where glory does not stay. I’m a Red Sox fan, which—for the record— doesn’t necessarily mean I hate the Yankees. I’ve never once participated in a “Yankees suck” chant. When the Sox do well, I revel in their success; when poorly, I love them still (though not necessarily the players or, say, any manager who may or may not have invented the wrap sandwich). Right now, the Sox are on pace to end the season worse than they’ve ever fared in my lifetime, They’re poised to lose 90+ games out of 162, which they haven’t done since 1966. They’re also on pace to finish fifth out of five teams in the division, which they’ve never done— the last time they finished a season in fifth place was 1993, out of seven teams. That year, the Blue Jays won their second straight World Series title in a cosmically unfair twist; maybe this year the Orioles and Nationals will meet in the World Series to showcase the universe’s injustice.
My point is that the Red Sox are struggling right now, and sportswriters and pundits and assorted bloated, orangey faces shouting through tellies and radios keep screeching about the team’s irrelevance, how “done” they are, how fans are rightly abandoning the team, “threatening” to end the longest home sellout streak in professional sport, as though we fans cared about attendance numbers. Popularity doesn’t factor into heartfelt adulation.