They did it! The curse is reversed, the ghost of Ruth nailed back in his coffin — the Red Sox have won their first World Series in 86 years. I am truly overwhelmed.
It’s just after 1am, and my neighborhood is rumbling: half a dozen helicopters hovering overhead, thousands of people carrying brooms and signs marching towards Kenmore Square.
Once again, Susanne and I watched the game at An Tua Nua, an Irish bar just a few blocks from Fenway Park. The bar was packed with probably 500 people, most of them college students covered in Soxware. For four hours, we parked ourselves in front of a giant projection screen, cheering and yelling and screaming and hooting with the mob. Up until the sixth or seventh inning, I tried to keep my reserve and not get my hopes up, even though everything seemed to be going our way. But as soon as several guys brought out their brooms and started to sweep the floor in unison, we all knew this would indeed be the night. A sweep to end all sweeps, a win to end nine decades of frustration and despair.
The crowd erupted with increasing enthusiasm with each successive out. When the game finally finished, the bar exploded: 500 people simultaneously jumping for joy, awash in beer and tears and hugs and cellphones. I have never seen so many frat boys sob with joy.
We stormed out of the bar and hit the streets. Hundreds of people were already outside the bar, streaming east towards Kenmore Square. We joined the throngs of ecstatic fans, following one tall redhead carrying a broom with pride. Reaching the square, we found ourselves with a bagpiper, playing Scottish jigs and Queen songs as the crowd cheered him on.
The hundreds turned to thousands; the thousands became tens of thousands. Susanne and I soon got split up in the crowd. Within moments there were 20,000 people between the two of us; there was no point in trying to find each other.
I looked up in the sky and was blinded by three, four, five, eight floodlights pouring down from the helicopters. People were climbing the fences along the overpass, yelling into their cell phones, high-fiving everyone who passed by. A young woman thrusts a cigar in my face; I take a puff and smile as it was yanked from me, vanishing into the crowd. Three guys jump from a lamp post on top of us, surfing the crowd until a cop gave one of them a polite warning jab in the thigh.
Cops were everywhere, lining the streets, blocking Yawkey Way and Brookline Ave. I was in a bottleneck, squeezed amongst thousands of cheering people. It was exhilarating, scary, thrilling, the most magical moment. I was in the center of the universe.
Knowing I couldn’t go any further down Brookline Ave, I turned around and joined a chain of college students, locked arm in arm like an elephant parade, allowing the momentum of the mob suck them through the crowd. Everywhere else was deadlock, gridlock, a crush of humanity, but somehow I slid through the mass, ducking as a tall man fell from a signpost, having been swatted by another cop. To the left, I heard someone yell “Pepper spray!” and people lurched forward, trying to get out of the way. A young man fell to the ground, clutching his eyes.
Taking advantage of the sudden momentum, I moved towards the Uno’s restaurant, which was boarded up with plywood. A group of cops in riot gear guarded the entrance, gingerly pushing the crowd whenever it lurched towards them.
“Thank you for doing your job,” a group of students said to them; another group chanted, “Please don’t shoot us! Please don’t shoot us!”
There might have been 100,000 people in the square by 12:30am; thousands more continued to stream from Brookline. I’d been separated from Susanne for at least 30 minutes, and decided I better rendezvous at home, as had been our plan.
I made my way through the crowd in fits and starts; eventually the crowd thinned, and I was able to walk the three blocks back to our apartment.
Feeding the cats two hours past their dinner time, I watched in amazement as Fox Sports replayed the last moments of the game while showing a small-screen image of the crowds at Kenmore. The helicopters continue to hover overhead, Jimmy Fallon is having an ecstatic breakdown on live TV; Susanne has made her way home.
I can’t believe I’ve been able to type this; my hands are still shaking with excitement. The Red Sox won the World Series. Hell has frozen over, and life is so, so sweet…. -andy