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Immaculate Seasons

It’s Monday and last night my beloved Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the fourth time in the past fifteen years. To me, it seems like an immaculate season of sorts. I fully watched well over a hundred games, experiencing everything from the travesty of Opening Day to the unlikely October heroes. I followed the team each day and attended about a dozen games, aided by both a trip to Texas and a sweltering evening in the 400s at Yankee Stadium.

I lived and breathed this team all season long, and the end result was perfect. And to be honest, the thought of doing it again next year seems exhausting.

I’ve held complacency before. My immaculate Patriots season was just two years ago, in 2016. I’m a bandwagon New England fan, as someone my age could probably only be, joining after the Super Bowl XLIX win during my first year in Boston. In the summer of 2016 I hopped on the Jimmy G hype train and counted down the days to kickoff, going on to live and breathe that team all season long. And the end result, a dominating 14-2 campaign capped off by the incredible 25-point comeback to win Super Bowl LI, marked that squad as one of the greatest ever.

And to be honest, football just hasn’t been quite the same since. I still love the Pats and watch almost every week, but Sunday afternoons don’t feel sacred any more. I’ll get just as fanatical as the next guy during a big game, but this year’s loss to the Eagles seemed inconvenient at worst. I was salty for a few days, but 2016 remained my immaculate season.

The Red Sox have won it all several times in my lifetime, and I’m super thankful that I could see it during my time in Boston. I’m moving to California next year and will miss going to weeknight games on a whim. I guess that’s why it feels different this time.

I’m also trying to figure out why I had such impostor syndrome as a fan this year. This was the most successful and talented team in the history of the franchise, but for some reason I felt all along that we were just barely hanging on by a thread, waiting for the whole thing to collapse.

After watching a bunch of dropped games at the end of the regular season, I started to feel like I’ve seen this one before. Dominate all season long, back into the playoffs, and exit the first round. I really just wanted to beat the Yankees and avoid a division series loss, and I felt pretty nervous after losing game two. And even after the 16-1 rout and a series victory, my expectations for the Houston series were pretty neutral.

Why did I feel this way? Boston has been up here before, but never after such a great regular season, and I never felt as pessimistic about the other winning clubs. I guess it just didn’t seem real this time after all the emotional attachment and disappointment from recent years.

It feels different this October because I feel unprecedented contentedness. I love this organization and will be stoked for next season - I’ll be watching from far away, but I’ll be there. And no matter how the winter plays out and the team’s success in 2019, I’ll always have this immaculate season.