Faith No More
yes, us people are just poems we're 90% metaphor with a leanness of meaning approaching hyper-distillation and once upon a time we were moonshine rushing down the throat of a giraffe--Ani Difranco, "Self-Evident"
Just to let you know, I finished my Ceremonial First Viewing of Faith Rewarded: The Historic Season of the 2004 Boston Red Sox on DVD. And:
1. There are tears rolling down my cheeks; 2. I laughed at least as much as I cried; 3. I'm going back to watch it again.
But before I do...
The thing you need to know about me, is, I can come across as cold. People often think of me as absurdly confident, when, really, nothing could be further from the truth. Inwardly, I'm a quivering ball of neuroses and insecurities, but outwardly I come across as a big, tough girl who can leave you a smoking wreck with a single turn of phrase. But beneath that crust, sometimes my emotions are so overwhelming that it takes me some time before I can really process them, and there's a disconnect, a delay, before white-hot anger cools into a frustration I can express in words; before grief congeals into a sadness that isn't trivialized by tears; before blinding joy dims just slightly so that I can make out the shape of my own happiness.
This is the process I've gone through with the Red Sox winning the World Series. When the last out settled into Keith Foulke's glove, while my boyfriend leapt from his chair in the living room to run in ecstatic, nonsensical circles around the kitchen, whooping and yelling, neighbors be damned, I sat on the couch, hands pressed over my mouth, mouth beneath my fingers wide open, agawk, agape...and the only dry eye in the house. While my countrymen and women in the Nation wept openly in the streets, I smiled wanly, but the sheer size of it, the magnitude, had steamrolled me completely. I've walked around for the last few weeks feeling two-dimensional.
I've hit a wall writing my multi-part essay on the season, too. Because every time I contemplate Game 4, every time I try to sneak up close to it, it blows out all my circuits and I can't even think about it for very long.
It's getting better, though.
Part of debriefing myself, in a way, has been digesting the experience through the books and videos and various commemorative items that have come out, things you can buy and unwrap and hold in your hands and that tell you, yes, it really did happen, yes, it's something you can encapsulate and package, yes, it can be understood.
This DVD from NESN has been the best such item released so far, and if there will be a better one, please don't let me near it, because the NESN DVD is about the highest level I can take at the moment.
NESN, whether it's in comparison with national broadcasters during the season, or when compared with the efforts by MLB to commemorate the unbelievable--edges out its competitors for the attention and respect of the Nation. Because they get it. They know exactly how Sox fans are feeling and reacting. They have no qualms about showing the Slap, for example, or about slowing the final moments of Game 4 down, replaying the same clip of audio--"Generations have come and gone...generations have come and gone...generations have come and gone..."--over the same footage of a smiling Ted Williams, a laughing Carl Yazstremski, Dwight Evans doffing his cap...
NESN just gets it. Their DVD, from "October 27, 2004, 11:40 pm EST" over the half-eclipsed moon to "Love that Dirty Water" over the footage of Jason Varitek running, grinning and hollering, out to leap into the arms of Keith Foulke, didn't just help me remember, but put me right back into those moments of anguish and triumph and joy...
And this time, the tears finally came.
I suspect they won't be the last.
What did to me was the footage of the parade. Rather than a "ho-hum, yay, look at this crowd, okay, the end, now play 'Tessie'," the DVD lingered on the upturned faces of the fans, lingered on the awestruck, dumbfounded expressions of the players, wrapped up with flawless editing and a beautiful musical touch. And as I looked at the people, from the players to fans and back again, it struck me how there were not just 3.5 million strong people, not just 3.5 million strong numbers, but 3.5 million strong stories--3.5 million "Win it for my father"s, and those were just the people who showed up out on the street. There were countless more watching at home, curled up with this DVD to relive it all mid-December; it just occurred to me how many stories there were, how each minute moment--Ellis Burks getting to carry the World Series trophy off the team plane, for example, you could write an entire book about the confluence of factors and stories and heartbreaks and joys and perseverances that led up to that one simple moment, a man walking down some airplane steps with a piece of fancy metal in his hand and a huge grin on his face--added up to something that is still too large to see over, to deep to get under, too wide to wrap my arms around.
But what had been numbing was now an at least palpable--if not slightly painful--feeling of being filled up in a way I never have been before by anything. Filled up. Satisfied. Vindicated. Fulfilled. Relieved. It fills me up, I thought, and wept.
Part of me hopes that one day, maybe when enough years have passed, I'll be able to look back on this and at least be able to hold its meaning and all the feelings in my one brain and heart. Part of me lives in fear that such a day might ever come.
Because you can't. It's joy too big to comprehend. It's a reward too large for any one person to carry.
That's why there's a whole Nation of us.
As usual, Red is better than me:
This is dangerously good stuff, so superior to the MLB World Series disc for many reasons. First, for most of the ALCS footage, they surgically extracted Timmy McCarver and Li'l Buck and inserted Castiglione & Trup. Which means you can listen to the calls without wanting to set fire to your TV set. Also, these guys know their audience. We are Sox fans and we enjoy every nuance, every sidelong glance the players cast each other's way, and every angle of that moment when Minty had ball in glove and raised his hands and suddenly nothing in our world made sense. Best of all, it's presented in widescreen, muthaf--ker. Because this is an epic with heroes and villains and warriors and spaceships and gunfights and bloody socks and loud crunching guitars and epics need those black bars at the top & bottom of the screen. So deal.