Walsh: New view for fan once high on Boston teams
To start today’s column, I have to go back more than 40 years - and then up more than 500 feet.
That’s when and where I spent a night with a TV crew on the roof of the 50-story Prudential Tower. The camera was aimed at a brightly lit field about a mile away, a patch of green glowing in the darkness.
It was Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. And we were up in the sky to help broadcast Game 7 of the 1975 World Series between the Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.
Someone, I guess, was too cheap to rent a blimp.
At the time, I had lived in Boston for several years and was a fervent fan of its baseball team. Sure, they hadn’t won a World Series since 1918, but when you grow up with the hapless Phillies, that’s hardly a disqualifier.
And while the Series was too close for comfort, the Sox had produced an epic win in Game 6, thanks to a 12th-inning walk-off home run by Carlton Fisk.
I was prepared to jump for joy when they won Game 7, although not too high given my location.
And then…they lost.
Someone, I think, should have rented the Hindenburg.
On my way home a short time later, I walked through the grief-stricken crowd outside the ballpark. These people were shocked, saddened, slump-shouldered.
And now that I’m from South Jersey, I hope they feel that way again soon.
You’re probably wondering how someone can just turn against an entire city, viewing every resident with a cold, heartless hostility.
Well, frankly, I learned to do it up there. Because that’s how they drive.
And beyond that, sports fans can be fierce and fickle in the same lifetime.
During that ill-fated World Series, I hated, hated, hated Cincinnati’s Pete Rose.
But when he became the Phils’ Pete Rose and delivered a long-craved championship in 1980? Well, that guy was lovable.
And when the New England Patriots - more like chumpions during my time in Beantown - finally won a Super Bowl in 2002, I was happy for my old friends. During a visit soon after that victory, I enjoyed the novelty of celebratory signs on streets lined with snowbanks and triple-decker apartment buildings.
Pastor Ted Winsley Sr., pastor of The Family Church in Voorhees, has served as the team chaplain for the Philadelphia Eagles for 17 years. He will lead the prayer for the Eagles prior to the game on Super Bowl Sunday. Chris LaChall/Staff Photographer
But then the Pats went too far - deviously defeating our Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 and pigging out on three more titles besides that.
The Red Sox also succeeded their way out of my sympathies, winning it all in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
So, it’s obviously time for their dynasty to fall and ours to rise.
And while we’re changing history, I’d propose a rewrite for Paul Revere. He’s the guy who galloped from Boston to Lexington like a colonial version of Rocky Balboa.
In future textbooks, children might read of Revere’s revised cry: “The Iggles are coming! The Iggles are - Hey! Some guy just punched my horse!”
Jim Walsh: @jwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; firstname.lastname@example.org