World Series Champs
My father was born in 1918, just a few months before the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. A tiny baby, he couldn’t appreciate that sweet victory, but he carried a deep love for the Red Sox for his entire life. Most of the time, he watched the games on television. But, when we were kids, he took us to the ball game at least once a year. That was back when normal people could afford tickets. When the Sox played in the World Series in 1967, he managed to get a ticket to one of the games — a huge thrill! The Sox lost that series; my father’s love for the team continued on.
He died in 2000, having lived nearly 83 years without ever witnessing his beloved team win the World Series. He suffered with them through some pretty terrible years. And he got excited for them in the good years, when victory seemed within reach. Loyalty is riding the tide that shifts between good fortune and ill.
In 2004, the series when the Sox “broke the curse,” my nephew in St. Louis got tickets to one of the games — the winning game, as it turned out to be. His dad, my oldest brother, flew in from Denver to help cheer our team on. My middle brother Express-mailed my father’s Red Sox cap to St. Louis so that my nephew and oldest brother could take it to the game. So when the Cardinals made their final out, sending the trophy north to Boston, my father was there “in hat” as well as in spirit.
On Wednesday when the Sox won the World Series again, I couldn’t help but think of my father. How he would have loved to watch his team take another championship! He would have been philosophical about it, though. He knew championships were the result of hard work and even, to some extent, luck. And he certainly knew victory could be elusive. In his own life, he was content to accept that his own best efforts were sometimes rewarded and sometimes not. He used to say that as long as he knew he had done the best he could, he would sleep well at night.
We may work hard in our lives — on environmental work or social justice or any number of issues. We may go for an entire lifetime without having the satisfaction of seeing our work seem to make a dent. But, you never know when the tide will turn. Tides turn all the time. Whether we have the luck or privilege to witness those shifts in our lifetimes, the work we do is important. It all adds up. Sometimes a certain amount of faith is required to be confident change will come, even if that change is years, decades, or even longer in the making. That’s the kind of faith Red Sox fans like my father had to have for most of the 20th century. Maybe there’s a lesson there for us.