The first time I remember hearing anyone swear was when my mother missed a turn as we were driving in Boston. The second time I remember hearing someone swear was Nelly after I purchased his album Country Grammar when I was in the sixth grade.
But hearing people swear and learning how to properly do it—I mean to really properly swear with the satisfaction of ripping a double in the gap—are two different occurrences in one’s life. I learned to swear at Fenway Park.
I learned about passion, too. This was before we won it all; before the current owners took over and before the birth of the pink hats. Worst of all, by far, it was before people went to the game for their own benefit, whether that benefit be getting a tan at the park with some friends, simply having the right to say you went to Fenway that day, or for the benefit of a business interaction with a client and the like.
Back then most people bought their tickets, made the trek on the T, or the 39 bus, or their cars and that God-awful parking nightmare, and stepped into Fenway with one thing on their minds: lifting the Red Sox to victory.
I went to a few games last season. For the majority of the innings, it felt like a cross between a movie theatre and a middle school cookout: low volume, minimal swearing, and a lack of guided energy. Occasionally, you’d feel that old Fenway spark. The entire crowd’s energy would build and so would the team’s. I felt right at home. Then it would fade, replaced again by the movie theatre feel combined with isolated friendly conversation.
Go on Redsox.com and you’ll see that most of the April home games have tickets available. The sellout streak will end. All that means is the end of the sellout fan. Many Sox fans blame it on the “pink hats,” but I blame it on the business men with their partners and clients who don’t understand the concept of a long reliever or the rules on a sacrifice fly; and who more importantly feel as though displaying too much outward passion makes them look weird to those around them. The fewer sellouts there are just might mean the more swear words you’ll hear. That sounds fine to me.