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Fenway Park Takes us Back in Time

A trip to Fenway Park gets the memories flowing.

 

It's really not about the actual structure.

Truth be told, the place looks every bit of its 100 years.

After nine innings, your body is a crooked mess. Unless you are under 5 feet 5 inches and weigh less than 140 pounds, you are going to be very uncomfortable for three or so hours.

It costs a fortune to attend a game these days. Hot dogs come with a loan application to purchase them.

You know not to even try to drive there.

Still, Fenway Park is what it is. With all its warts, it's ours.

After all, Fenway is a place where memories live on.

How many things is our lives are still even standing 100 years later? Places like that are few and far between.

In a way, Fenway is really our own fountain of youth, a place where we go to remember what it was like to be young again and remember old friends.

That's the real beauty of the joint.

You're 8 years old. Your teenage sister and her friends fall victim to your constant pleas and demands to go along to a Red Sox game. It's a summer night when you enter the ballpark for the first time. It's green, so green. You see Yaz in left field and Hawk in right.

This is much better than TV.

A year later, your childhood friend goes to his first game with you. He's 8, you're 9. You come up the ramp on the Red Sox dugout side and see the Green Monster.

"You know, Timmy could hit one out of here," says your friend, referring to an older kid who was the best player in the neighborhood.

You're 13. It's a Friday night game after a long rain delay. You and your dad decide to stick it out. Of course, the game goes into extra innings, so you are at the ballpark into the early hours of a Saturday morning.

"Your mother is going to be worried about us," your dad says. But both of you are hungry, and you pull into the old Howard Johnson's in Dorchester for an early breakfast. You and your dad talk sports over eggs and bacon.

This is one of the all-time best nights with your dad.

Your cousin is a fellow seam head. One night, you two hook a ride with one of your baseball coaches in town to go to Fenway a year after the Red Sox had been in the 1975 World Series. It's a great night. You and your cousin eat hot dogs and ice cream, and fight about baseball.

Four years later, your cousin would be killed in a car accident, while living his dream as an umpire in the minor leagues. Those are the memories you treasure.

It's the end of a miserable Red Sox season, manager Ralph Houk's last game before a family and friends crowd. You're on a date in your 20s with a very nice woman. The two of you spend the afternoon talking and laughing on a cold October day. Fenway becomes a major dating venue for you.

You're a sports writer. This day, Fenway Park is different.

The Red Sox are on the road and college players are using the ballpark. Before the game, you are in the dugout, interviewing a player who happens to live across the street from you. You watched him play when he was very young, and now he's about to play left field in front of the Green Monster.

You ask the typical sports writer questions, but then it hits you. You're interviewing a kid in the neighborhood in the Red Sox dugout.

"John, can you believe where you are?" you ask. A photo is taken for a memory of the day. He goes on to be drafted by the Red Sox and play in the minor leagues.

Your soon-to-be stepdaughter is a huge Sox fan and you want to take her to a game. Luckily, it's Sox-Yanks, followed by a meeting with Tom Brady at a Sports Illustrated function. Her smile makes it one of the best days of your life.

You're sitting with a friend in the right field stands, talking about life and baseball for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.

The game is boring and the Sox are getting killed, but that's OK.

As you look around at the park, you think of all of the times you have been there from being 8 to being 50.

Memories flow. You end up spending an afternoon for friends and family long gone and remember the times when you were younger.

With all of its problems, that was Fenway Park does to you.

It's give you a healthy drink from the fountain of youth.

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