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Cursing My Existence

By Anthony S. A. freinberg

It was a foul weekend to be in Boston. Jorge Posada ensured that with his fluky bloop double in the bottom of the eighth on Thursday night. Sure, history will record that Aaron Boone won Game Seven of the American League Championship Series in the bottom of the 11th inning with a walk-off homerun, but after Posada tied the game up, a Yankee win was as inevitable as it was miserable. And I’m sorry to say it was all my fault.

Since I was a very young boy, I have been a passionate and perhaps obsessive sports fan. I used to huddle under my covers at boarding school, secretly watching the World Series on my friend’s mini television and feverishly praying for a Yankee loss that never came. (I was also praying my housemaster didn’t catch me with a television and give me lines. Or, even worse, confiscate the TV.) This year, though, I was lucky enough to be a Red Sox fan in Boston in the midst one of the most dramatic postseasons in history.

As a result, on Thursday morning, I wore my lucky (red) socks. I didn’t shave. I went to watch a play for class—yes, a play on the most important sporting night of the year!—so that I would arrive three innings into the game, just as I had on Wednesday when the Sox pulled out Game Six. I headed to my friends’ room downstairs in the entryway, where I had enjoyed my happiest times in four years at Harvard, watching every important win thus far—and then, well, then I got cocky.

It was four-nothing, after all. Sure I could run upstairs and grab my Red Sox cap. (Well, the free cap with a pair of red socks on it that you get when signing up for a Mastercard at Fenway, but you know what I mean.) You see, my teams never win when I wear the apparel. But Thursday was different; I could feel it. Roger Clemens was down and out; Pedro Martinez was looking strong. Like every other baseball-crazed resident of the Bay State, I was whooping “Cowboy Up” (without really knowing what it meant) and beginning to dream of the parade through Boston after the Sox won it all.

But back to the hat. The moment I put it on in the top of the fourth, everything began to fall apart. Hat on; Veritek strikeout; Damon double-play; inning over. And, as we all know, it just got worse from there. Like so many fans, I had dared to dream that the normal order of things could be reversed: that the Yankees could lose to the Sox, and that the curse finally didn’t apply. My curse, that is.

Every crushing loss a team of mine has ever suffered has come while I was wearing some piece of their apparel. And every time I wear some piece of apparel, my team suffers a crushing loss. When my soccer team, Arsenal, lost in the last minute of extra time in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1995, my fat, salty tears fell on my red team shirt. When the Jets lost to Denver in the 1999 AFC Championship, I furiously tore off my itchy, ill-fitting Curtis Martin jersey. When those same damn Yankees beat the Mets, a team my family has followed since they were founded, 4-1 in the Subway Series my first year, I watched every game—in my new black Mets hat. And, of course, the list goes on.

If you’re like I am, the weekend hasn’t dimmed the pain of Thursday’s loss one bit. If anything, it’s getting worse, like a throbbing migraine that just won’t stop burrowing into your eye. And at a time like this, it’s best to have a scapegoat. But don’t pick on Grady Little for leaving Pedro in too long. And don’t blame Harry Frazee for trading Babe Ruth. Yes, the Red Sox were cursed on Thursday. But this particular curse was my doing. And no matter how many times I apologize, it won’t make it any better.

—Anthony S.A. Freinberg is the staff director.

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