With my heart racing and my hands shaking through nine innings, all I could think about were the inevitable words that will be found on my eventual death certificate: "Cause of death: Red Sox."
As a Red Sox fan born in 1990, I haven't endured nearly the anguish that my elders have - there's no way that all those years of heartache did their longevity any favors, either. But like Alfred Tennyson's famous poem teaches us, "Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all."
I'd rather lose ten years off my life because of Red Sox induced stress (and the occasional Fenway Frank - those aren't doing us any favors), than live to be two hundred years old and never experience the euphoria of Red Sox playoff wins.
Because being a Red Sox fan is like being part of an enormous, neurotic family. Before Red Sox Nation was a cash cow for the owners, it was a phrase that described the most dedicated, self-aggrandizing, self-flagellating fans in baseball. It was a phrase that summed up a fanbase centered in Boston, but strong throughout New England, the United States, and the world.
As cliche as it might be, I feel instant kinship with anyone I see wearing Red Sox paraphernalia. I don't often strike up conversations with strangers, but Red Sox fans are a notable exception - it really is like having a huge extended family. And if I have to sacrifice years of my life to baseball-related stress, there's no other group of people I'd rather agonize with than my fellow Sox fans.