Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Sox fan in a foreign land: Part 1

For me, the day pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training is the first signifier that the snow will eventually melt, my extremities will begin to thaw, and there will be baseball once again. This year is a little different, as I'm currently studying abroad in Delhi, India. There's never been any snow here, and I've been overheated since we arrived, so it's not the coming of spring I'm most excited about this time around, but the long-awaited arrival of baseball season.

Thankfully, my host family has WiFi, so I've been able to keep up with the (scarce) Sox news for the last few weeks, but I'm not sure if that will be true in Dakar, Senegal, or Buenos Aires, Argentina, so I'll try to post as much as time allows while I have the luxury of internet.

Until actual practices get underway, there's not too much to talk about, so I thought I might share some of my stories as a traveling Red Sox fan, far from home. The program started in New York, and so I naturally had a few run-ins with Yankees fans before we left the country.

In Harlem we met a 14-year-old boy named Elijah, who claimed to the biggest Yankees fan ever. He proceeded to berate me about Manny and Papi's "steroid use," and exalted Andy ettitte and A*Rod for coming forward. "After they got caught," I scoffed, "That's hardly admirable." He clammed right up.

Perhaps the best anecdote occurred in the Newark airport. I (naturally) had worn a Red Sox shirt, and when I took off my jacket to go through security, the metal detector attendant announced that she didn't let Red Sox fans through. I decided to plead with her better nature, turning around to display "WAKEFIELD: 49" on the back, and asserting that no one can dislike a gamer like Wake. She laughingly agreed, and let me through - because, as she said, I was "a nice Red Sox fan."

When we finally arrived in Delhi, a friend turned to me and quipped "I feel much better about you wearing that Boston hat now that we're safely out of New York." It's pretty easy to be a baseball fan of any type here and stay virtually incognito, as the entire country is gearing up for the Cricket World Cup, and no one has a moment to spare for a silly American sport like baseball. I am determined to gain at least a cursory understanding of cricket before I leave, but I will (obviously) remain a loyal baseball fan for life.