If you didn't already know this about me, sports are one of the most important and impactful parts of my life. Other than my family I'd say I love sports more than anything else. I was notoriously known as the kid who always showed up to school rocking my favorite team's shirts, and always wanting the skew whatever conversation that was had at lunch back to offseason moves, or coaching changes. What I was also known for was rolling through the hallways with a new championship shirt. But as I sit here and reflect upon my fandom I've realized that I have been devoid of an important aspect.
Since I can remember I've never gone very long without one of my teams winning a championship. Never have I suffered like fans of the Cubs, Browns, Mariners or '76ers. If I haven't made things clear enough, then maybe I should start at the beginning.
I was born in April of 1998 right in the heart of Connecticut and my very first love was UConn basketball. My parents would always have tickets to their home games, and I would go marvel at players like Emeka Okafor, Rudy Gay, Shabazz Napier and most importantly Kemba Walker. I'd sit in awe of how quickly Jim Calhoun could get thrown out of a game, but at the same time how he could consistently dominate the competition in the Big East (RIP).
UConn has national championships in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2013. They weren't named the basketball capital of the world for no reason. I was way too young to remember 99' but I still remember our teachers stopping class in the middle of the day, just to watch Kemba Walker drill the most infamous college basketball buzzer beater of all-time.
Kemba Walker UConn Buzzer Beater vs Pitt 3/10/2011 YouTube
I remember my friends and I nearly ripping my buddies house apart when UConn upset Florida in the Final Four, and later beating Kentucky just one year after being suspended by the NCAA. I remember sneaking into the lower bowl section of the American Athletic Conference tournament with my dad and watching Ryan Boatright drill a game-winning three, which I still have no idea how he made.
After UConn basketball, the first sport I can remember ever playing was baseball and my favorite team growing up was the Boston Red Sox. Obviously, when it comes to major league baseball fans, Connecticut is a bit of a swing state between the Red Sox and Yankees. I ended up on the right end because of my mother and my uncle, who I was named after.
I remember the horror stories they used to tell me about their childhoods as Red Sox fans. Every other year the Yankees would put up another banner and every year the Red Sox would add another painful memory of defeat. But these kinds of feelings were missing from my experience rooting for Boston. There were no 86 years of suffering for me, right around the time I really started paying attention to baseball in 2004 the Red Sox ended their 86 year drought. I was 6 years old.
From there on Boston went on to win the world series in 2007 and then in 2013, which is one of my favorite sports years of my life. Everything about that season was magical. After the horrifying bombing at the Boston Marathon, the way the city and the entire country rallied together, was something really special. It also resulted in one of my favorite sports memories, when David Ortiz took the mic at Fenway Park and win one line rallied the city of Boston together.
David Ortiz rallies the Boston crowd after Boston Marathon tragedy YouTube
The least the baseball gods could do was have the Red Sox win the championship that year.
At this point in time, one would think "wow that sure is a whole lot of winning in such a short period of time, it can't possibly get any better." Well, I'm here to yes, yes it can.
To be continued...