Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Conflicted Interests

Friends have been asking me for a couple of weeks: "Who you gonna root for?"

From time to time, I've been ambivalent about who wins the World Series, but I've never been so torn as I am now. I follow both teams.

I was born in Denver and grew up following the AAA Denver Bears. I left Colorado for Boston in 1982, a full 11 years before the Rockies fielded a team. I became an instant diehard Red Sox fan. I went to a game at Fenway Park at my first opportunity (Opening Day, 1982). I wrote for Boston Baseball magazine for four years. I went to Games 4, 5 and 7 of the 1986 World Series. I'm a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation. I've seen the Red Sox play on the road in 19 venues. The last thing I did before I left Boston to move back to Colorado was to go to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. I bleed Red Sox.

I moved back to Denver on Labor Day weekend in 2003. I went to four September games for my new home team at Coors Field. During one of those games, I was approached by an usher who noticed me wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. He asked if I was a Sox fan. Of course, I told him I was, and he told me the same. In the course of a ten-minute conversation, we realized we had a tremendous amount in common, and we became fast friends. We remain so today.

Rosie the usher told me who to contact if I wanted to be an usher, too. I didn't think I wanted to, but I followed-through nonetheless. I've been an usher at Coors Field for the past four seasons. In 2004, I worked 76 games, and I went with a ticket to four others. Three of those were when the Red Sox were in town. In 2005, I worked all 81 games. I've spent hours and hours hanging out at Coors Field, watching this team, through thick and mostly thin. I know hundreds of people from the ballpark -- front office personnel, season ticket holders, fellow ushers, vendors, media, cops and more. It's family.

I've said for a long time that I root for the Rockies, and I wish them well, but I don't have the emotional involvement that I do with the Red Sox. It's hard to convincingly explain to someone of the connection to that team if they haven't lived in New England and experienced it themselves. I've also said for a long time that the Rockies have a lot of talent, but they didn't know how to play nine innings, or that they didn't know how to win. They clearly have that figured out, at least for the short term.

Strong cases can be made for both: The Sox had the best record in baseball for most of the season. They've had some lousy luck over the years. They have history. They have tradition. They're the Red Sox. The Rox came from dead-in-the-water to the World Series by winning 22 of their last 23. It's their first World Series. They do have a lot of talent, and they've been really fun to watch over the last month. And, I live in Denver. It'd be nice to root for the no-place-like-home team. Especially since the Broncos won two Super Bowls when I was living in Boston, and the Red Sox won the World Series when I was living in Denver.

My friends think this should be a dream match up for me, and that I should be in baseball heaven. In reality, it's kind of a nightmare. The two teams I root for and follow are playing each other. One of them will win, which should make me happy, but it will be at the expense of the other, which will make me sad. In short, I won't be able to fully appreciate one of my teams winning the World Series. Oh, the humanity!

So, what am I supposed to do? I'm so very conflicted. As one of my friends at Coors Field told me, "Yeah, it's kinda like life."

The best that I've come up with is to celebrate both of my teams. I've been wearing my Rockies jacket and my Red Sox cap. I'm going to cheer for both teams and hope that it's a good Series. I hope that it's clear that the team that wins deserved to win.

I'm big on the "fan experience." This is certainly an interesting one. I finally decided to just do my best to enjoy it.

©2007 Douglas T. Dinsmoor


At November 20, 2007 at 10:01 PM, Blogger Elle said...

So you never followed up on your last posting. How did you feel once the series was over and your precious little Red Sox won? By the way, did you get to usher at those home games? Elle


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