Ramble on the Roof

Torrin Thatcher

After spending a few days in the great city of Boston, I came to realize all the things I missed out on while growing up where the biggest sports attraction was watching small college sports. It was exciting to flip through the Janesville Gazette and read about statewide sports, but it’s quite different from being in a city to which many professional teams call home.
Seeing a city show genuine support for their team is great – it started as soon as I left the airport. I knew it was going to be a great trip as I hopped on the metro. Sitting in the car and seeing Red Sox hats and jerseys, Celtics shirts, Bruin jerseys, Patriot jackets and other shirts from all the other colleges in town let me know that Bostonians are serious and true sports fans.
As we departed the Boston metro – “The Departed” was filmed in Boston, and you’re welcome for the pun – and made our way to the city’s surface to get to the hotel, one of the first buildings we came across was City Hall. None of this seemed out of the norm until I noticed the huge yellow banners being hung from opposing sides to encourage the Boston Bruins in their run for the Stanley Cup. This was Saturday night, and I just knew that there would be more to come.
Sunday was the day for Fenway, and my first experience with “Red Sox Nation.” First, this term bugs the hell out of me. Do Boston fans think they’re better than everyone? It all just seems very lame to me. We went to a day game which allowed us to see all the sights around the park and allowed me to verify the fact that Brewer fans drink more while the sun is still hanging high in the sky. It’s safe to say that I was thoroughly pleased with the experience of visiting Fenway and singing “Sweet Caroline” halfway through the eighth. The game was solid, and something I’ll never forget, but there are some other things that affected me negatively.
The first thing I noticed on walking to the park was the cost of parking. Some lots were demanding up to $40 for a stall, and considering the tickets we bought had a face value of $30, there were some people who could have paid more for parking than attending the game. Scalping also seemed like a big deal around the park – Fenway actually has a “scalper free zone” at an entrance. En route to the park, a guy was yelling “Tickets! Tickets!” and in response I yelled “Direction? Direction?” because we didn’t exactly know where we were heading and he just pointed without saying a word. He must not have been bringing in much illegal money that day.
The attitude of the Boston fans at Fenway greatly disappointed me. There were guys shouting at the Orioles’ players, people around us constantly talking at a loud level about their drinking conquests that involved no baseball whatsoever and the biggest irritation of all was fans constantly trying to move down to a lower lever for a better seat.
It is ridiculous when you see the same two to three guys or couple walking down a handful of rows and peering around for some open, unobstructed seats, and then do it again a few minutes later while the game is still in the early innings. I’ve sat as close as the fourth row at the Bradley Center, eighth row at Miller, and I have never seen fans make it so obvious that they were “sneaking” to better seats while still so early in the game. Yes, I think all fans do it once the game has reached the latter half, but it seemed Red Sox fans made a habit of it – a habit that they’re not good at. Also, one guy I sat next to was more interested in trying to hit on a girl than knowing what the score was.
Some of the other great sports-related events I noticed were all the marathon happenings – runners wearing Bruin and Celtic jerseys, our waiter at Legal Seafood letting me know that Ray Allen hit a game-winning three, thinking about the draft, and that I have yet to find a sporting experience that tops making the trek through downtown Madison to watch the Badgers play on a Saturday afternoon. Home definitely is where the heart is.