For many years now we’ve made an effort to take our kids to at least one baseball game per season at Boston’s Fenway Park, preferably with all four of us as a family. This hasn’t generally been too hard as my dad and I have shared season tickets for the Red Sox since 1987, just one year after poor Bill Buckner let the infamous ball through the wickets in the ’86 World Series. In this day and age of Stub Hub and various other ticket resale agencies, getting a couple of extra seats has never really been all that difficult and Jen and I have just taken turns moving around with the boys between our regular seats and the others we are usually able to get in a nearby section. A lot of fun has been had over the years and the kids — in no small part thanks to the infectious enthusiasm of their uncle John, who listens to almost all of the games nightly on the radio — have really come to understand the passion of what it means to be a Red Sox fan in New England. Long gone are the early days when we would take the the boys to Fenway and have to ply them with ice cream, cotton candy, and popcorn (I’m not even mentioning the hot dogs which in that context are the “healthy” food) just to get them to stay through the 5th inning. They are now dedicated members of Red Sox Nation, the poor bastards. Granted in their world the Sox are supposed to magically win the Series every few years since that’s all that they have experienced in their lifetimes. Long may their innocence last.
Several years ago the boys, my dad, and I also got to spend a game up in one the luxury boxes at Fenway after participating in an online auction. The Sox had auctioned off tickets in the box, which seated 20 people in total, in sets of 2 with all proceeds going to benefit the Red Sox Foundation which does invaluable work in the community there. The auction winners got to watch a game with all of the food and drink included and also go out onto the field to watch the Sox take BP before the game from just 20 feet behind home plate. It was great fun and a real win-win.
Though that experience was not something we could ever afford to do regularly, it did get the wheels turning a little bit. I
spent a couple of years talking abstractly with John and my sister, Sarah, about the possibility of one day renting one of the boxes for a game and taking the entire family. I just needed something to justify it. Political cover if you will for doing something on the outrageous side. Why hello 2011. This summer as it happens marks both my dad’s upcoming 70th birthday (9/4) as well as the big four-O for me. What better way to act out on a would-be/could-be/might-be mid life crisis than taking all of the beloveds to Fenway Park for a game? Truth be told, I’ve been neurosing about my age since I was 25 so it’s all felt a bit anticlimactic of late. The rest of the world didn’t know that though. This was the first BIG one, so to Lansdowne Street we went!
So it it was that the 4 CCNF Lutzs, Sarah, John, our two nieces (who are now up here visiting for 10 days or so), my parents, John’s brother and family, as well as a bunch of old family friends including Sarah and John’s Sox-obsessed neighbors from the Cape, Ken and Lizzy, all found ourselves together at Fenway Park on Wednesday around 11:30AM, a solid two hours before first pitch. We ate too much and we definitely drank too much but oh man, did we have fun! The only downer of course was the score on the field of play but that really didn’t matter all that much in the end. The banter back and forth throughout the game would be hard to replicate in any other scenario (perhaps a big Super Bowl party comes closest) and everyone present had an experience that will really never be replicated. We all left the park grinning ear to ear. That we were able to hang out and pose for pictures with the ’04 and ’07 WS trophies and then the kids got to run the bases down on the field after the game seemingly with everyone at the park under the age of 18 was all just icing on the cake. That my friends was 6 hours well spent.