Creating an Addiction
The scorching August sun beat down on the sidewalk as I held my fathers hand tightly, afraid to let it go. We had just gotten off the T and the sweat was already pouring down our foreheads. Everyone around us was in a mad rush, all going to their own destinations and not acknowledging anyone else’s presence. People moved in every direction, faceless in a sea of gray and black suits. My father and I were sore thumbs in the mix; my brand new bright red jersey that had my favorite players name on the back, Nomar Garciapara, and his red hat made us the typical tourists to the area. I was overwhelmed with curiosity; the city was a place we did not venture often.
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My father weaved us through the crowd until I slowly noticed more of an abundance of people also sporting the color red. We had been walking for an innumerable amount of time to a child my age. My hand was so wet that it was almost impossible to hold onto his any longer. Between the sunscreen that had recently been lathered all over me by my dad at the T station and the sweat from the summer heat, his hand kept slipping from mine. I tried to look ahead up the street, but all I saw were people. People were everywhere. I jumped into the air to see over their heads, but my nine-year-old frame would not take me up that high. Finally I saw it for the first time in person. My father had talked about it many times before, the Green Monster was up ahead, looking like an oasis in the middle of a desert, the green walls stuck out next to the glass skyscrapers and brick buildings. It was just like my father and I were a few blocks before, a sore thumb in the bland city. My dad pointed up ahead and yelled in my ear that we had finally made it.
I felt uncomfortable and hurried in the city; we were packed into lines and shoved through metal detectors. My father had to remove his belt and the money clip in his pocket before we were allowed to advance towards the Green Monster. The sun was getting close to setting and I could feel a late summer breeze blowing my braids off of my sticky back when my dad finally made it past security. I looked up ahead and saw a huge banner over the street called Yawkey Way. The Green Monster was on our left, and on our right were brick buildings with red and blue awning. People walked down the middle of the street and no cars could drive through. Vendors were cooking sausage and selling beer, the smells filled the air as the smoke from the grills went up into the sky. I had to keep holding onto my dad’s hand because now everyone looked exactly like we did. A band played music outside a storefront and a man in stilts in a baseball uniform was playing catch with another kid in a red jersey. My father and I entered a souvenir store and I stood overwhelmed at the thousands of tee shirts I had to choose from. I only knew Nomar Garciapara, and I chose shirt with his name on the back, to match the jersey I was wearing. The moment I decided what I wanted as a token to remember this trip, my father whipped it out of my hands and paid for it in a hurry. I had taken too much time deciding. He grabbed my arm and we hurried to Gate D, our entrance to the ballpark, inside the walls of the Green Monster. He did not want to miss the Red Sox take batting practice before the game. As we walked down into Gate D, we passed more food vendors and my father began to ramble about previous times he had been here. He asked me if I wanted a “Fenway Frank”, and out of fear, I politely declined the option of a boiled hotdog and instead got a candy apple. As my dad rushed down the walkway under the grandstand like he owned the entire ballpark, I saw signs that had the same numbers that were on my ticket I held firmly in my free hand, with my candy apple and my tee shirt, everything sticky as the caramel melted all over my hand and arm. My dad held my other hand tightly and we were practically running at this point, and as we rounded a corner with a large sign over it saying “Field Box 14-21” in large red letters. My dad then paused and looked down at me. He bent over so we were at the same height, in the middle of path. He looked at me and told me this was his favorite part of Fenway Park, and even at the age of nine, I could see the importance of this moment in his eyes, and I could hear it in his voice. He was about to share his passion with his only child. It was then that he grabbed my hand again and we walked up the ramp and soon I could see light flooding the exit of the walkway. I squinted as my dad pulled me up over his head and I sat on his shoulders. He was smiling ear to ear, and before I knew it I was staring at the Green Monster from the other side. We had made it into Fenway Park. My dad stopped for a moment and stared out at the crisp green field and the thousands of red and blue seats. Even I was dumbfounded at what I was looking at. The Green Monster towered above us and the stadium lights blinded us even though it was still sunny out. Baseball players were stretching and passing the ball to one another. I looked frantically for Nomar, but I could not find him. In person they all look the same. As people were walking around us to get to their seats, my dad then began to walk again to get to ours. He kept me up on his shoulders until we reached Field Box 21, and then he lowered me to the ground and lead me down stairs until we were headed into a crowd of people standing in front of the Red Sox Dugout. He then politely asked people to move and told them they were our seats. I never thought we would be sitting this close! I followed my dad into the third row and picked my favorite number, 2, over 3, which were our two seats in the row. I unfolded the red wooden chair and stood on top of it and watched the many other fans that were not supposed to be there yell to players for autographs. I could not find Nomar, but suddenly my dad picked me up and threw me on top of the dugout. Standing in front of me was a huge man in a red sox uniform. My dad yelled in my ear to hand him my ticket and a pen, so I did. The man was very nice, he asked me my name and he signed his name on my ticket, handed it back, and continued to batting practice. My dad was elated as he took the ticket out of my hand and looked at the signature. I had no idea who the man was, but I thought he must have been important if he was so excited about it. He told me that he was the catcher, Jason Varitek. I didn’t really care then however, I was still scanning the field for Nomar.
People were slowly retreating away from the dugout to their real seats, and my dad and I sat down. We were at eye level with the field. The sun was behind us and was slowly dipping lower and lower behind the park. My dad took out a wipe that my mother had packed for us and he scrubbed my caramel apple hands with it. It was then that I saw him. All of the players ran out onto the field right in front of my eyes. I was captivated. There was Nomar Garciapara directly in front of me. They all had their backs to us as the National Anthem was sung. I could not believe I was actually seeing him in person. That was the first time I cried at Fenway Park. My eyes swelled and tears ran down my face, however my father did not notice. He was too busy watching the players take the field, watching the sea of red and navy blue people cheer and listening to the announcers welcome us to Fenway Park. My dad did not know that day he created a monster. He had just poisoned his only daughter with an addiction to the Boston Red Sox.