Springtime in Boston

Finally, the march toward the end of the third quarter at Waltham High is over. It might as well have been a death march, as far as I was concerned there, for awhile. Being a new teacher, I am prone to a number of mistakes, particularly in the realm of planning, anticipating, and scheduling. Up until recently, I had been doing a pretty good job in this area. However, all that changed this quarter. Somehow, I got myself buried up to my eyeballs in student writing assignments. But now it is over and my reward is this week’s reprieve.

Despite the pile of work I had to slog through, I did manage to partake in some of Boston’s finest annual events. For those of you across the country, last week was leading toward the Bay State’s distinctive holiday, Patriots Day. Beautifully timed to coincide with the opening of the new baseball season, the week began by welcoming the World Champion Red Sox back to Fenway. Complete with the ring ceremony during the home opener, guess who the hosts were to play? None other than the Evil Empire. The Sox capped the day with a thorough beating of the Yankees, as they flashed the bats and bling against their hated rivals and victims of their historic march toward World Series victory. It really was a beautiful day in Boston.

As luck would have it, Keri managed to procure some last minute tickets to the first night game of the year, Wednesday the 13th. The evening began with a picturesque sunset beyond the left field line. Fresh from his rehab assignment in Pawtucket, ace Curt Schilling was slated to start. I was fully prepared for the ground’s crew to anoint the field with the infamous bloody sock in preparation for the first pitch. The game was a good one through about five innings. Then the Yanks jumped ahead with a non-steroid dinger from Giambi that dropped in front of our right field seats, landing in the bullpen. After another shot that managed to reach beyond Pesky’s Pole, in right, Schill got the hook and the game went cold literally and figuratively. It actually got so cold toward the end of the game that we vacated a bit early. Leaving early on my own accord was a first for me, if that gives you any idea how cold it was.

Unfortunately, we were a night before the latest Yankee-fan altercation, this time involving Gary Sheffield. Nevertheless we were not short on entertainment in the stands the night we were in attendance. From the time we got off the Green Line and headed toward gate C on Yawkey Way, we were in step with one of Boston’s crazier Red Sox fans. Get a load of this guy!

Photo: Crazy Red Sox Fan

Never at a loss for words, this guy was one constant stream of taunting. Nary a person in our section was not moved to comment. He definitely had everyone’s attention and proved quite entertaining. My personal favorite moment was when he went crazy after a Yankee fan walked up the aisle in full regalia. “Do you believe this guy? What’s the matta with you? Get outta here! This guy is walkin’ aroun’ in a ’89 Yankee’s Stahta (Starter) jacket! You’re a bum!” was only the beginning. The one thing I’ll say was as much as he jawed, he never went blue, even though he was two fisting multiple $6.00 brews.

After finishing the last two days of the week, it was a welcome slide into the weekend. The weather couldn’t have been better and being that it was a three day weekend, spring had officially sprung here. All this led to the official harbinger of Persephone’s return from the underworld in New England, the running of the 109th Boston Marathon. Being daughters of a veteran marathoner, including Boston’s very own, Keri and Ali have a specific spot where they take in the action. We planted ourselves in Newton, on Commonwealth Avenue, near the base of the infamous Heartbreak Hill and the memorial statue of both the young and old Johnny Kelley.

Photo: Me eating a slush

It is amazing the number of people that turn out along the route to cheer the runners on to the finish. What is hard to explain to the non-native is how intense many of the Boston sporting events are. So many people, from all walks of life, pour out for the big sporting spectacles here. It is as if there is a civic requirement to make an appearance. Nearly the entire twenty-six mile course is jammed with a tunnel of supporters twenty feet deep on each side of the street. From friends and family members of the runners to the casual observer, it is quite a site. Of course, the irony of this lengthy race is that it is one long, snaking food fair. So while the runners are agonizing down the course, throngs of people are feasting on hot dogs, sausages, fried dough, and all variety of ice cream and candy.

Photo: Bostn Marathon Runners

My favorite moment had to be when the father of a family to my right approached. We were at the 19th mile and his brood of wife and four kids were cheering for him. He slowed and stopped to hug them all. Amazingly, he was able to get out of a portable chair after posing with the children for some photos. Although, he said he felt fine, I am not sure how he got up and keep going.

Fortunately, I was able to experience all the local color and fanfare, considering I am heading back to Chicago for the rest of the week. Yes, “Live from New England” will be relocated to the Midwest, as I visit family and friends for few days. Hopefully, I will be able to take in all the unique Chicago cuisine that can kill you. As much as I enjoy it on the coast, every once in awhile I still get pangs of homesickness for the “woman with a broken nose.” So, I will try to capture the journey for future postings.

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