This is the second article in the Why We Wait series. If you don't know what it's all about, you can check out the first article here.
Any good Red Sox fan was probably raised to think of a World Series Championship as if it was the Holy Grail. While it was possible that the Red Sox could eventually win one, believing in it was like believing in an ever elusive myth. Perhaps some of us were lucky enough to have relatives old enough to remember 1918. Most of us, however, didn't. If we had relatives that were alive then, they likely weren't old enough to remember the World Series.
For me, I was more like tales of 1986. My dad had the Champagne bottle popped, and the glasses ready before you-know-what happened. I also heard stories of the fever surrounding the 1967 Impossible Dream season. But the Red Sox lost that World Series in a Game 7 as well, as they did in all five of their World Series appearances from 1918 to 2004.
I grew up hearing my father tell me "maybe in your lifetime". And my father was only reciting what his father told him some 20 odd years before. But things are obviously different now.
When the Red Sox won it all last year, it was clearly different from 2004. In 2004, the Red Sox did the impossible. If they never did it again, I would have been happy. There wasn't a day that went by between October of 2004 and October of 2005 that I didn't think about how great it was that the Red Sox were champions. It didn't feel like they won a World Series; it felt like they won a century long war against a cruel, mocking tyrant.
Last year was different. I appreciated the process much more. Plenty of people told me that the Red Sox would choke again, like they always do. But I just laughed. There really wasn't any weight to those words anymore. After 2004, horror stories of choking Red Sox teams were all just talk. This was an entirely different team, in an entirely different century. There wasn't a day all season that I thought the Red Sox were going to miss the playoffs.
And when they won it all, it didn't feel like salvation. It felt more like confirmation. Confirmation that this wasn't the Red Sox of old. Confirmation that they were a true force to be reckoned with. And confirmation that almost two decades of unrewarded faith was worth it, no matter how much suffering it caused. And the reward was more than I ever could have imagined just four years ago.
It's so unbelievable, that often I forget that the Red Sox won in 2007. But every time I'm reminded, I can't help but smile. And that's why we wait.