Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Bucket Lists and Baseball

A long time ago.......

in a galaxy far, far... oh no, wait; that's Star Wars... let me start again...

Once upon a time...

there was this little blond haired girl who always seemed to be in red shoes (thanks to her Mum) who had this idea that one day she wanted to see the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway Park. Back then (this was before her brother arrived on the scene so she was pre 8 years old) she probably didn't even know what she was on about, most likely having heard it mentioned somewhere (or had she?) and had made her mind up it was something to do when she was big enough to go. I'm not even sure she knew who the Red Sox were or what they played, she just knew she wanted to see them.

A few years down-the-line she learned they played Baseball, a game not associated with her part of the world in any way, shape, or form. She still had (and has) no clue where the wanting to see them play came from. She may well have read about it in a book, or seen them mentioned in a movie on TV. 

Fast forward a decade and by now she had learned there was such a thing as a "Bucket List" and so the trip to Fenway to see the game she'd never watch played became an item on the list (along with the Norwegian Fjords, and visiting all 50 US states - the Fjords got ticked off this year and slowly the states are being so too) leaving just a couple more things on the list; the game being one-of-them. 

It was around this time the 15 year old version of the little blond girl (who was no longer blond)  discovered that her maternal Grandfather was an American. This excited, and disappointed at the same time, for she was never going to meet him or learn anything about him as her Grandmother refused point blank to discuss him. Imagine how it felt to find out many years after that he was born and raised in Salem, MA (yes, home of the infamous witch trials - a lot of people have commented to me about how "it all makes sense now" in relation to me; I think they might be trying to tell me something). This discovery meant that he would (most likely) have been a Red Sox fan (the rest of the family, as she was to learn, also are). Maybe, just maybe, that yearning to see them play at Fenway wasn't because of something she had read or seen, but was, in fact, just a part of her DNA).

Was it his blood (my Grandfathers) flowing through my veins which was drawing me (that little blond haired girl) to Fenway?

(I have a theory on how ghosts are not real, but part of our DNA and now believe so many other things in our daily life are down to sharing our ancestors DNA - you can read it if you like by clicking here  :)

Now, sadly, due to lack-of-funds (it really is no fun being poor) I've never (yet) made it to a game at Fenway Park and that is still extremely high on my "bucket list" but.... but..... this weekend just passed, I finally got to watch the Red Sox play the Yankees and even though they lost, I loved every single second of it.

For the first time in the history of the game, they brought a series over here; The London Series, and the 2 teams chosen to kick it all off (they are hoping to make it a regular yearly experience) were the 2 I have wanted to watch for over 4 decades. You bet ya I put my name down for pre-sale tickets, both over here and over there. To be there when history is made is one thing, but to see the 2 teams I've always dreamed of watching, playing on UK soil, well, that was something else. As soon as the tickets were confirmed I booked me a hotel (which left a lot to be desired) and coach tickets (apparently they don't have aircon on National Express through London) to get there too.


Originally one of my cousins was going to join me, but sadly he had to pull out a couple of weeks ago due to family commitments and so I dragged my little old Mum along with me (seemed only fair as it is her Dad who was the Boston man) and off we headed.

Those of you who know me, will know how much I hate (despise) the summer. Up to 12c (53f) I can just about tolerate, 18c (64f) and you can count me out of anything which involves being anywhere other than in front of an aircon unit (since entering that-time-of-life too heat has become even more hated by me). I'm sure then you can only imagine how I felt when all week leading up to the game all the forecasters kept predicting was temperatures of 34c (93f) for the day I was travelling up to London to make that tick on my Bucket list. Those temperatures and in London too; a combination that I could not despise more, and I will admit I did (at one point) consider not going. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I stuck to it. Don't get me wrong, the heat nearly killed me and when we got into our seats to find we were in full sun I honestly did think I was going to die. Before the game even got underway I thought I was going to have to give up and watch it on TV in the hotel room, having spent 1.5 hours sitting in it watching the warm-ups, but a kind man with a lot of ice in his pitcher of alcohol passed me over a handful (of ice) that I was able to use to cool me down; I also nipped to the ladies and removed some clothing leaving myself at the very bare minimum I could get away with without exposing myself and downed a sugary drink. All of these things enabled me to go back to my seat, where I sat, in full sun for another 5.5 hours (this was after we had been wandering around in it too before we even walked the mile from hotel to stadium). The temperature in the stadium where we were reached 46c (115f) with a 79% humidity (I bet there were a lot of sunburned bodies on Sunday morning). I cannot fault the sun cream I used; as someone who can burn during the summer when it pissing down with rain, I was recommended to try a cream called "Ultrasun". It's not cheap but oh-my-goodness, it is amazing. Had I used any other cream (and I've always gone for the so-called "Best" paying extra and getting children's factor 50 total sun block) I would have been burned red-raw within half-an-hour; I came home as white as I was when I left :) It's absolutely amazing stuff.

I am so glad I stuck it out though because the atmosphere was just phenomenal and like nothing I have ever experienced before. We were 2 of only a few Red Sox fans among a whole seating section of Yankees fans and the banter was just that; banter. You don't get that over here at a football match. The guy sitting next to me (who kept fanning me - I know, I was so lucky; one giving me ice (I think we got engaged) and one fanning me) was a neutral and when I mentioned it to him he looked at me and said "this is Baseball, my dear; you're not watching football now" so I can only assume rivalry is not taken to the violent and abusive extent football fans can often take it too. I was even more surprised how jovial it was as most of the blokes around were downing pints like there was going to be no tomorrow and drunken men at sporting events don't normally mean happy people.


I can honestly say I surprised myself at how much I got into it. I sang, I cheered, I boooed; I bloody loved it. Even when there was a lull in play (of which there were a few) it was never boring (being an F1 fan a lull can almost send you to sleep) there was none-of-that, mostly down to the fans, but also because you just never knew what was going to happen. One minute you've got 2 players being struck out, and the next you've got one hitting a 'home run'. You go from being seated and patiently waiting, to jumping out of your seat cheering loudly. I will admit, I did applaud the first home run by the Yankees because it was the first ever on home soil and will go into the MLB history records (that's right, I witnessed history being made before my very eyes). 

The Red Sox lost 17 - 14 (at one point I thought they were going to pull-it-back) and I wished I'd had enough money to have been able to go to the game on Sunday too (watched it on the coach on the way home and can only apologise to our fellow passengers because we did (at times) yell, shout and cheer a couple of times...... hahaha.. ). They lost that game too, and were well on course to win it. I'm so glad in-the-end that I was able to take Mum (she enjoyed it as much as I did). We said at the beginning of the year life was about making memories so to make one with her that is partly down to her was lovely.

The only downside is the draw to Fenway Park is now even stronger than it was. Somehow, some way, I have to make it happen. 

If you've never been to a game and get the chance to go, I say to you "give it a try". You may find you are pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it, it was just something I wanted to do and say I'd experienced. To find I love it and want to go again, regularly, has really taken me by surprise and you may find you enjoy it more than you think you might too. Don't be shy; give it a try :)





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