My friend, the rabbi, stopped by New Bedford with his family. They were on their way home from their vacation on Cape Cod. The rabbi, and his wife the lawyer, and I had all been in college together, but this was the first time I got to meet their children. Great kids, although unfortunately they’re Yankees fans.
As they were all leaving, my friend the rabbi held out a hat that said “Red Sox” in Hebrew, with the little red socks logo stitched on the side of the hat. “Would you wear this?” he said.
“Would I wear it?” I said. “Of course I’d wear it!”
“We got some for the kids,” he said, “but my oldest just won’t wear it. He’s too much of a Yankees fan.” His oldest had made pointed comments earlier about the Red Sox and their stupidity in trading Babe Ruth, so I could well believe he wasn’t going to wear a Red Sox cap, even if it was in Hebrew.
“I’ll even wear it in church,” I said devoutly. My friend the rabbi laughed, but his eldest child asked quite seriously why I’d wear that hat in church. “The Red Sox are like a religion up here,” I said. He took me literally, and wondered out loud how baseball could be religious. His dad and I had to hastily explain that I had been making a joke.
(Well, kind of making a joke. Except not really. Not that I believe in the efficacy of prayers when it comes to winning baseball games, but I do know the whole reason that the Red Sox won the World Series two years ago is because I refused to watch the games on TV, because every time I watch their post-season games, they lose. Maybe that’s more superstition than religion, but I’d say it’s a fine line in Red Sox Nation.)
Anyway, now I have a Red Sox hat in Hebrew — and if you’re really nice to me, I’ll tell you where you can get one, too.