Root, Root, Root for the Red Sox??Posted: September 10, 2009
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.”