Okay, I’m just going to try to regain a vocabulary here. But I am in a mood where words are inadequate.

I went to Liberty Cafe, in Hoboken (otherwise known as “Sheila’s home away from home for the last week and a half”). David and Maria were joining me. I scored bar stools for all of us. We had a perfect spot. Perfect. David was in full Red Sox regalia, head to toe.

I’m sorry – I have forgotten how to write.

The same crowd was there … the crowd I have gotten to know by sight over the last couple of years.

Above our head was a massive skylight. Through that, we watched the moon turn red, and then disappear.

I mean – you just can’t script something like that: A blood-red moon, a lunar eclipse, seen through a skylight of a bar where there are huddled 100 insane Red Sox fans watching the historic moment of a World Series sweep??… You just couldn’t script it.

I have screamed myself hoarse. I am hung over. I can’t calm my brain down. Maria and I were handed free glasses of champagne when we won.

It was utter mayhem. We were out of our minds. I still get a bit choked up thinking about it. David – screaming – screaming – text messaging – screaming – Maria with her hand over her mouth – and then suddenly LOSING it.

I wish I had taken notes during the game. I’ll just babble some thoughts.

— D-Lowe: As much as I have always had affection for you, I have to admit I doubted you quite a bit this season. You seemed a bit mental, too emotional … I would watch the bright pink spots come out on your cheeks, watch you blow out your breath in a huff, and think: Uh-oh. He’s cracking. He’s a headcase, his psyche is delicate … Uhm – Derek, I owe you a big fat apology.

— When Lowe came back to the dugout after his amazing feat … there was this shot … of Pedro Martinez hugging him. Did anyone else see that? The hug went on and on and on, Derek actually stopped the hug … in that way that you do sometimes (“Okay. Nice hug, but now it should be ending now…”) – but Pedro, with this huge grin on his face, didn’t let go. Would not let go. We all saw that moment – David, Maria, and I. I said, “Wow. That is extraordinary. Look at how this group of men have bonded. They are a TEAM.” I mean, I have known that this was true, but it was the Pedro-hug-that-wouldn’t-end moment that made it real for me.

— Uhm … the constant shots of Red Sox fans in bars in New York and LA? Lame. Freakin’ lame.

— I absolutely loved the lunatic shot at the press conference afterwards, when they’re trying to talk to Bud Selig or someone … and a drenched Pedro wanders into the camera shot, with this huge grin on his face, holding the trophy … and then wanders out again. I loved that.

— I still kind of can’t get past the mayhem that erupted after Foulke’s underhanded throw to Mientkiewicz at first … I keep going back to it. Re-living it. I can’t help it – it continues to unfurl in my mind’s eye like a beautiful movie on replay. It was spectacular. I mean … I guess I never really believed that I would ever have that moment, that it would ever be ME going nuts in October … People were out of their minds. There was one guy across the bar from us who looked like a traveling preacher from The Apostle or something. He was a young kid with a buzz cut, but he just stood there – for about 10 minutes – arms up in the air … head thrown back … occasionally shaking his head … occasionally putting one hand over his eyes … but standing frozen … like he was about to preach fire and brimstone. Like he was having a revelation from above or something. He was completely overcome.

— Here is what I noticed, during the mayhem (I only notice this in looking back on it): The crowd at the bar was erupting in waves, the waves breaking, receding, pulling back, and then pounding the shore again. Nobody was doing the same thing at the same time … there were multiple waves, all having their own arcs and peaks … so at any given moment when you looked around the bar you could see:

1. People jumping up and down like maniacs
2. People huddled over their cell phones
3. People sitting quietly with their hands over their mouths, or up on the sides of their cheeks, staring up at the TV, quietly. In awe. Disbelief.

And we ALL went through each ONE of these phases … but at different times. Waves breaking, pulling back, sucking at the shore, gathering strength, and then crashing in again …

I was jumping up and down like a maniac. Hugging strangers. Jumping, screaming, jumping. Then I would grab David’s phone and call someone, quickly. Huddling into the phone against the mayhem, screaming a couple of words at the person on the other line. Hanging up. And then it would hit me on a whole deeper level, and I would have to sit down, quietly, with my hand over my mouth, staring up at the TV.

As I’m jumping up and down, Maria sits in stunned silence, staring at the TV, while David screams into his cell phone. Then David hangs up, sits down in stunned silence, and suddenly Maria is the one on the phone, while I’m still jumping up and down. Then David starts jumping up and down, and Maria is on the phone, and I’m staring up at the TV quietly …

This kind of trade-off of different emotional states happened with the entire crowd – over and over and over – for about 35 minutes.

— I can’t even look at Curt Schilling without wanting to … cry? Yes. But also molest him. (Lovingly, of course.) I just want to do something for that guy. He came to this team with a single focus. He adapted to the team, yes, he accepted what it meant … he was embraced by Boston, he was ubiquitous in the chat rooms and call-in shows … he embraced Boston – but at the same time, he did not accept all the stupid curse baggage that came with it. This guy … this guy … I don’t mean to lay the ENTIRE victory at his feet – but he certainly deserves the lion’s share.

That’s the great thing, though – and I heard this comment on the radio this morning too – there were any number of guys on the Red Sox who could have been MVP. I thought it would be Ortiz, but there were many others, too. This was a team. A group. The sum is greater than all the parts. Or something like that.

I still don’t know how to speak about this.

— David turned to me at one point, during the mayhem afterwards, and shouted, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET ANY OF THESE MEN – NONE OF THEM – WE WILL REMEMBER THEIR NAMES FOREVER.”

— And during the mayhem … the TVs are still blasting … and one commercial came on … a commercial that obviously they only would have run if the Red Sox had won. I do not even know what the hell it was for. But the shot was of 4 Boston fans, sitting in the stands at Fenway … with a rolling scroll of dates beneath … starting with 1918. And as the dates scroll … you watched the people morph, and change. You watched the 1920s fashions morph into 1930s fashions … you watched the hairdos change … you watched people come and go … and the dates kept scrolling … The faces were elated, the faces were grumpy, the faces were excited, or devastated … 1970s fashion now … 1980s … 1990s … and finally … the last shot had the date 2003 underneath … and there were 4 old guys sitting there … (I think it was 4 men, I don’t know) … 4 white-haired old gents … watching their team play … 2003. How long those gentlemen have waited … and then the screen went to black, and the date showed, large: 2004. Anyway, that was a long-ass description of that commercial. But there was a kind of nostalgic music playing, a sweet tender music … and as I watched the dates change, and the faces change, and as I thought about my grandfather, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins … I thought about Boston as a whole … so much of my own childhood tied up with this team … Silly, I know, but I didn’t shed a tear until I saw that commercial. Suddenly – watching that commercial – it hit me what had actually happened. And then I was standing there, with tears rolling down my face.

Tears of happiness, sure, but also tears of relief. We did it. After all these damn years, we did it. We hung with our team, we got beat, we got our hearts broke, we had to endure taunts, smug petty taunts, we had to be taunted with a stupid Curse that I don’t even believe in … Generations pass down the allegiance. I know it was the case in my family.

Relief that we did it, but also great great joy and pride in HOW we did it. In HOW it happened.

A sweep? What?? Beating the Yankees in their own damn stadium? What?

And to win that series through the strength of our PITCHING … The Cardinals obviously have some of the best players in the league. But they could not get past our ranks of pitchers.

— I came home (had left the cell phone at home, because I’m an idiot) – and there were 15 incoherent messages on my phone. One after the other after the other. “AHHHHHH” “YEE-HAW” Wild cackles of laughter. My brother screaming: “WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!” I listened to all of them, standing in my quiet apartment, it’s 1 in the morning, I’m drunk, but my head is buzzing, my blood pumping with adrenaline … and I felt connected. I felt connected with all of them.

— And all the players continuously thanking US … We all kept cheering and losing it whenever any of them acknowledged “Boston fans” – as though they were literally talking to us face to face, personally. “He means me!! He’s talking about me!!”

— Johnny Damon. Holy moly. You know what strikes me about him, besides his Grizzly Adams/Jesus general hot-ness? How un-attached he seems. By that I mean: he goes up there, with very little drama, and just does what he needs to do. You don’t see him LINGER in moments. Home run? Run around the bases, move on. Next play. Strike out? Oh well, move on. His face reveals nothing (unlike the Derek Lowe nervous-boy face which made me so anxiety-stricken all summer … Derek Lowe has seemed TOO attached – like his entire self-esteem and happiness and self-worth rest on his success … But again: I OWE HIM A BIG FAT APOLOGY for doubting him.) Damon seems to just get the job done, and move on. LOVE that man.

I can’t seem to stop talking now.

I know I’m writing badly. But my head hurts and my brain is spinning and I just don’t care.

— Most of all, I am so thrilled that – if I couldn’t watch that momentous game with my family – I got to watch it with David and Maria. I’ll never ever in my life forget last night.

How do you say Thank you to these guys? How do you say … THANK YOU?? DO THEY HEAR ME?

I’m beside myself.

This entry was posted in Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Liberty

  1. Mr. Z says:

    Thank you for that, Sheila. I was deathly ill last night – so ill I wasn’t able to watch the game – so I’m having to “watch” it through other people’s eyes. Yours are among the best, darlin’!

  2. Ken Hall says:

    Well rendered, whether you remember how to write or not. I didn’t watch the game either, alas–I let my wife have custody of the box (I’m like some kind of saint or something, just so you know :-p). Instead, I put on a jacket and sat on the front lawn with a Jameson’s (neat) to watch the eclipse. The moon didn’t turn red over Fairview Park, but it was a great show anyway.

  3. Dan says:

    Nice. I can hardly wait for the DVD of this season.

  4. red says:

    Dan – that’s just what David kept saying! I can’t wait either.

  5. spd rdr says:

    A dear friend of mine (Yankee fan) sent me a framed print of this cartoon just before the playoffs. I’ll never be able to thank her enough. What was a joke in September is FACT in October. I’m still punch drunk.

  6. Steve says:

    I feel weird. Like there is a vortex of things going on. The Red Sox winning is HUGE (congrats to all you real fans. I’m just a poser). And the election. And some things going on in my personal life. They aren’t related, but there is a very weird energy with each of them.

  7. Great post Sheila- and congrats!

    The commercial- which I love, by the way- is for Nike, and has been running throughout the series. Though I was sort of hoping they’d add something to it at the end now that they’ve won. The way you felt about that, I felt about the “Cheers” thing with “WE WIN.”

  8. red says:

    Steve –

    Thank you for the commercial identification. I swear to God, I have not seen the damn thing until last night! I suppose that just means that for the whole series I was on my cell phone during the commercial breaks … and last night since it played at the very end, during one of my quiet-stunned moments, I was able to focus on it.

    A great idea for a commercial huh …

    When the “2004” date came up – on the blank black screen – it was kind of perfect, because I just looked around at the utter mayhem – and thought: Yup. That’s 2004. There it is, right here around me.

  9. red says:

    Oh, and rather amusingly: I was listening to Mike and Mike this morning, and my cousin was on. My cousin Mike … I laughed out loud. I also loved how he said that baseball, being a Red Sox fan, made him feel closer to his family, the “cousins” … those innumerable O’Malley cousins!!

  10. I think it’s safe to say at least 80% of the Red Sox fan base has “O’Malley cousins.”

  11. red says:

    Yes, this is quite true. But only one of them was on Mike & Mike this morning. heh heh It was surreal. Sitting hungover, drinking the coffee, obsessively listening to analysis of the game … and there’s my cousin.

  12. Rick M. says:

    Red, did you catch Shill on GMA? “Vote for Bush!” Awsome!!

  13. Dan says:

    //I think it’s safe to say at least 80% of the Red Sox fan base has “O’Malley cousins.”//

    The other 20% is guys named ‘Sully’ and ‘O.B.’

    You know what kept cracking me up at various points during the WS? The thought of a horde of Irish-American boyos from Boston decending upon St. Louis. Just a mental image of total culture clash.

    Of course I have also been a tad sleep-deprived which could account for my sense of what is ‘funny.’

  14. red says:

    In the O’Malley family (at least my version of it) – we are all about the cousins. There are so many of us, and yet we are ceaselessly concerned and interested in one another’s lives. It’s hilarious.

  15. Dan says:

    Sounds like my family.

  16. World Champion Boston Red Sox: Day 2

    This is indeed a great day in baseball history. Simmons weighs in, as does Gammons. In the Globe, here’s Dan Shaughnessy; since the Curse has been his life for the past couple of decades, I expect him to now immediately…

  17. World Champion Boston Red Sox: Day 2

    This is indeed a great day in baseball history. Simmons weighs in, as does Gammons. In the Globe, here’s Dan Shaughnessy; since the Curse has been his life for the past couple of decades, I expect him to now immediately…

  18. Alex says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! To all the fans. Your post was phenominal Sheila. Great heart, and warmth, and clarity. I actuallt felt like I was in the bar with you and as pumped as you were. I think it’s fantastic, and yes, it is EXACTLY like getting front row tickets to Garland at Carnegie Hall.

    Just gorgeous.

  19. David says:

    I’m still speechless, I’m still beside myself, I feel as if I’m coming back into my body now. I went to bed at 9:00 last night. Maria and I (she called in sick yesterday) spent the whole morning (after we got the kids off to school) watching Sports Center and ESPN news. Reliving the soft toss to first over and over. I LOVE that Meintkasdrtiswexvz got to hold the final out. I love him. I will never be able to pay my wife back for forcing the issue of getting a babysitter and meeting Sheila at the bar in Hoboken! Me, in my characteristic Red Sox way, thought we should wait because we probably wouldn’t sweep them. She knew. I don’t know how, but she knew they’d do it Wedsnesday night. That’s why she bought me the jacket this year, that’s why she bought the flag. She said she knew it was the year when Pedro made sure he got into the team picture. It was the first time he made it. He knew, they all did, they all believed. Amazing!!

  20. David says:

    A moment you forgot: At one point, maybe the ninth inning, Sheila takes my phone to call her parents. From my vantage point this is what I heard and saw.

    Sheila: Hi, Mom? (pause) What? OK…bye…

    Me: What happened?

    Sheila: (with a look of disbelief and a little bit of abandonment)She just hung up on me. She said we’re not taking calls right now and then hung up on me.

    Later Sheila said, “I totally get it, they’ve been there even more than us.”

  21. greatest. headline. ever.

    Cue the banjo music: Nuclear Device Stolen From Truck at Norfolk Wal-Mart Recovered at Pawn Shop Although this might go down as the greatest blog entry title ever. UPDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you….PARADE OF THE WAFFLE KING! And…

Comments are closed.