I was born and bred a Yankees fan and a Red Sox hater. I may not be from the Bronx and I may not own season tickets in section 203 but I have always and will always bleed pinstripes. Although baseball is my passion, I’m also a diehard Jets fan and being a New Jersey native I love my Devils. Long story short, if you’re a fan of any Boston franchise, chances are we won’t get along.
I’ll be upfront with you. If you’ve met me before and told me that you’re from Boston, or even if you’ve told me you like Boston, I’ll immediately tell you how much I detest the place and – by association – you.
But hey, can you blame me? We’re talking about the city who sold the greatest baseball player of all time to fund a Broadway play … one that failed! (Thanks for that by the way.) I grew up with Pedro throwing a defenseless Don Zimmer to the ground during a benches clearing brawl. I was at game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series where Curt Shilling faked the bloody sock. (Yes, I’m saying he faked it and I’ll believe that until the day I die.) Not to mention Tom Brady models for UGGs. Need I say more?
But Monday’s events have forever changed the way I see Boston. Growing up just 30 minutes north of New York City, with a sister attending NYU and her dorm building just blocks away from the World Trade Center in 2001, I know all too well how terrifying it is when a loved one is so closed to something so tragic.
The two bombs that had exploded on Boylston Street near the finish of the Boston Marathon did not hit home to me as quickly as I expected they might. Everything seemed so distant, so surreal. I feared for those affected and hoped that everyone would be OK during this time; however, it felt like an emotional link was missing.
Then, on Thursday, April 18, as I sat in my living room drinking my morning cup of coffee it hit me. I was watching SportsCenter when a clip of the Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabers game came onto the television. My immediate reaction was my distaste for all Boston sports, but then it happened.
As the National Anthem played before the drop of the first puck, the singer was joined by the entire stadium, all singing in unison. A cold shiver ran up the length of my spine. Goosebumps overwhelmed my arms and legs. My heart raced as tears began to accumulate at the corners of my eyes. It was incredibly powerful.
I began to think of that first game the Yankees played after the attacks on September 11, and how an entire nation was with my beloved Bronx Bombers that night at The House that Ruth Built. That night there were no Yankees fans and there were no Red Sox fans; there were only Americans.
After watching the clip of the National Anthem, I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the B’s to win at home, despite the fact that I knew the final outcome of the game. Was this really happening?
I’m not ashamed to say that I was finally rooting for Boston. Sports can do crazy things. It can divide and make you fight with your best friends. But it can also it can heal and bring bitter rivals together.
I will forever respect Boston after seeing that amazing display of human spirit. I can only speak for myself, but I think every Yankee fan will agree when I say, “Boston: united we stand.”