Right about now, a fair number of non-Bostonians are clenching hostile fists.

Everyone at Georgetown has met that guy from Massachusetts, been casually introduced and more likely even made a friend of him.

He’s always been a good friend, a loyal friend, the kind of friend who would take a stand against the school bully for you, but never have the right comeback or a quality swing.

You would encourage him, but quietly believed that a day of reckoning would never come and secretly were content with his less-than-dignified self.

But recently, your friend has been walking a little bit taller, been carrying his head a little bit higher, been fading in and out of conversation with a distant look in his eye and a grin tugging on his lips. He’s still your friend, but something has changed. This time, he’s the one shooting spitballs. And it’s killing you.

Maybe you’re tired of hearing about how he overcame all obstacles. How he surmounted the insurmountable.

Maybe it’s the posters he’s made and the shirts that he’s been sporting to class like a uniform.

Maybe it bothers you that it wasn’t even he who managed the feat, but more like 25 complete strangers that he has only seen through a television screen. He feels an umbilical connection with the guys on the field. And you don’t get it.

But beaming self-confidently, contentedly from under a navy cap, he doesn’t hear you. Suddenly, he seems to have the grades, the girl, and the goods to get him anything he wants out of life.

Even if all that fails, his smile won’t fade because he has won a Red Sox AL pennant over the Yankees, not to mention a World Series – and such victories breed a kind of unremitting grin.

The impulse is there. You feel it in the tightening of your thumbs around your fingers and the quickening of your pulse. You see a smugness behind his smile and a gloating in his eyes. His face is only asking for you to hit him, just as lowered eyelashes and pouted lips beg a man to kiss a girl.

You just don’t care about comebacks and curses and clips from the greatest upset in Red Sox-Yankee history.

You just don’t care about superstitions and good luck charms.

You just don’t care about the Boston Red Sox and don’t care about their triumph over their archrivals.

But, there’s another guy who is 84 years old. And he cares a lot.

Bumper stickers, pennants, and flags of every team paper the walls of his sitting room. He knows the name of every player who’s ever been a part of the Major Leagues. He’d probably be able to tell you who hit what to beat who where in what year and what the weather was like that day. He knows it all because he’s seen it all.

Fenway Park was not far from his home and it only cost him a quarter to sit in the bleachers and watch the infamous Babe Ruth battle his beloved Sox. When he couldn’t afford a ticket, he would wait outside the park, sprinting after foul balls and running from ballpark equipment managers, determined to bring home a souvenir.

The Red Sox were more than something to watch, but something to believe in when the Depression consumed American life. He lived and breathed for the Red Sox; he prayed and dreamed for the Red Sox.

But every year, when it mattered most, the “Evil Empire” would shatter his hopes, and the Red Sox would be left empty handed.

Today he’s well into his 80s, an old man, with a head of white hair framing a weathered, wrinkled face. He has three grown grandchildren and a bad back. He can’t remember the last time he has thrown a baseball. But he watches every game.

It was a cold and rainy Thursday, but he’ll remember this season as the brightest in Red Sox history. Alone in his house, he sits on the couch and smiles contentedly, self-confidently from under thinning hair.

A wrinkly grin creases his face. You might catch a hint of smugness in his smile and maybe a faint gloating in his eye, but even a Yankees fan can have a little respect for that.

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