Root, Root, Root for the Red Sox??

redsoxOkay, I’ve been in Hingham for a month. Here’s my debut column for my new hometown paper, The Hingham Journal. It’s about time! I’ve also pasted it in below for those too lazy to click:

 

Root, Root, Root for the Red Sox?

By the Rev. Tim Schenck

“Are there Yankee fans in Hingham?” This was the second question my boys asked me when my wife and I shared the news we’d be moving from New York to Massachusetts this summer. My answer? “Probably not.” And so far we haven’t met any. But for eight and 10-year-old boys amid a swirl of emotions this was a valid inquiry. The first question, by the way, was “Is there little league in Massachusetts.” Uh, yes. We’re not moving you to France after all.

We moved to Hingham last month as I was called to be the new rector at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist on Main Street. You know, the stone church up on the hill that looks a bit like a castle from the outside.

Lest you think three Yankee fans have invaded Red Sox Nation (my wife, like Switzerland, stays neutral) please know that I’m an avowed Yankee hater. So fear not: I have not come to evangelize in the name of Jeter. Growing up in Baltimore, I’ve been a loyal and avid Oriole fan for the better part of 40 years. I always considered it my parental duty to raise Yankee despising Oriole fans. And I’ve failed.

How did this travesty occur? I actually brainwashed both Ben and Zack they were younger to say “Go Orioles, Boo Yankees.” I dressed them in Orioles garb; we watched games together before they could speak. But then it happened. We moved to Westchester County, New York, from Baltimore when the boys were three and one — this was my first mistake. The other egregious error, in retrospect, was pushing the Oriole fan/Yankee hater issue too hard. It wasn’t long before they realized this was a huge button for Dad. And boy did they push it.

In a sense I can’t blame them. All of their friends were Yankee fans and, well, the Yankees actually won some games. My Birds? Haven’t done squat in over a quarter of a century (come on Red Sox fans, it hasn’t been so long that you’ve forgotten what futility feels like). So I’m left with my own personal fallen angels complete with Yankee posters on the walls of their new rooms and Yankee hats perched on their infidel heads.

There’s been talk among some of my new parishioners about conversion. Now that’s always a hot theological topic in any church but in this case it has nothing to do with salvation and everything to do with the color of one’s socks. If this doesn’t work the BoSox diehards in our midst may well take the next logical step with the boys’ baseball loyalties: exorcism.

And while I wish them luck, I doubt they’ll have much success. Moving from Baltimore to New York City when I was 13 only increased my level of loyalty to the Orioles. I imagine Ben and Zack will experience the same thing. As distasteful as their whole Yankee worship is to me I’m proud of them. As much as parents want to control the lives of their children, they ultimately cannot. Kids grow up, make choices, experience joy and hurt and exhilaration and sorrow. From the perspective of faith this is all part of the process of recognizing that our lives are in God’s hands, not our own. For me, this Yankee fan debacle is just another reminder of this lesson. Though I’ve suggested that, perhaps, they wait until the second day of school to wear those Yankee jerseys.

The Rev. Tim Schenck is Rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist. Visit him on the web at http://www.frtim.com where you can access his blog “Clergy Family Confidential.”


14 Comments on “Root, Root, Root for the Red Sox??”

  1. Solange says:

    What I don’t get is why he couldn’t steer Ben and Zack toward the *other* New York team – the one with soul and street cred, with heart and a distinct dearth of Wall Street brokers in the stands – my New York Mets! Heck, I always say, *anybody* can be a Yankee fan; it takes true character to be a Mets fan. And, uh, they’re not winning much this year, either.

  2. Father Tim says:

    Oh, the poor Mets. They may as well be the Jets. Can anything good come out of Queens? (And I say this having lived there for five years — including 1986 when they won it all in the “Buckner Series”).

  3. I was raised by parents who believed that baseball was o-v-e-r when the Dodgers left Brooklyn.

  4. Solange says:

    @Tim – the fall of 1986, and I was newly moved to Toronto. Thought I’d have an attack when Buckner muffed it. Much long-distance shouting down the phone line to a high school friend who lived in Bayside.

    @Meredith – Amen. My mom grew up on Eastern Parkway, not far from Ebbets Field.

  5. Davalene Cooper says:

    Just so you know, there are Yankee fans in Hingham–so tell your children they will not be alone. In fact, I am one of them! And I have now lived her for almost 20 years. I have even seen a child or two at my church (Old Ship) with a “Jeter” t-shirt!

    I became a Yankee fan as a child growing up in Ohio–my family were fans of the Reds, and I had to be different!

    Welcome to Hingham!

    Best, Davalene Cooper

  6. Father Tim says:

    Thanks, Davalene. Yankee fandom is clearly an insidious disease even in Red Sox Nation!

  7. John Sloan says:

    I loved your article and yes there are Yankees fans in Hingham. There are two, father (from Queens) & son, across the street from me, one moved to Hull last year and I have even seen a Yankees cap or two at the fruit center. With a 9 game lead in the division in mid September your sons should be happy!
    My brother-in-law and I watched the infamous Buckner game together in Chatham and he, a NYC resident was jubilant.
    I remember when the O’s were good so hang in there.
    Welcome to Hingham to you and your family!

    John Sloan

  8. John Sloan says:

    email address correction

  9. Father Tim says:

    I’m surprised the Yankee cap at the Fruit Center didn’t have tomatoes thrown at it (though I guess that’s actually a vegetable). Thanks for the welcome, John!

  10. Nina says:

    And there are some who find baseball very boring. After all, there is nothing like a good cricket match!

  11. Solange De Santis says:

    Not so, Tim. A tomato is actually a fruit.

  12. Rich says:

    Fr. Tim,
    As a native New Yorker, and the father of 3 boys aged 13, 11 and 8, I feel your pain, but I embrace the conflict! My oldest son was 3 years old when I gave him his first Red Sox hat, not because he was a fan, but because it had the letter “B” on it (the first letter of his name).

    By the time he turned 5 and had begun watching and playing baseball, he had become a Mets fan, mostly because everyone else in Rye, NY was a Yankee fan. I must confess though, I am a non-conformist too, and encourage that way of thnking; my parents we raised in the Bronx less than 10 blocks from Yankee Stadium, and of the rest of my siblings (there are 7) only one is a Mets fan. To this day, I feel bad for him. I, on the other hand, chose not to follow baseball at all, and pursued my love, track and field.

    When Bennett turned 6, I got involved in coaching his little league team, and became aware of the beauty of the game by baptism, and have been an avid follower and student ever since.

    My lesson to them is love the game, love the players, support a favorite team, or two if you like, but never be a reverse-fan (Yankee-Hater, etc.) The truth is, rivalry is great for the sport, and the ongoing history of the game.

    Our middle son is a life-long Yankee fan, and always will be. When his grammar school holds “Red Sox” day, he wears his Damon Yankee jersey. And he wears a Yankee hat to school – every day.

    I hope this helps- tell your boys to wear the hat with pride!

  13. Father Tim says:

    Rich, that’s fabulous — thanks for sharing this. My eldest son’s first name also begins with a B: Benedict. Can’t imagine what he’d do with it if I gave him a B-laden Red Sox hat for Christmas though!

  14. Rich says:

    Another coincidence! Our son’s name is the diminutive of Benedict – Bennett. Maybe they will find one anoher on a baseball field some day, on the same team I hope!


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