Friday, June 03, 2011

Assimilation and Conversion

My wife is a Red Sox fan. I'm a Yankees fan. This doesn't cause conflicts as I imagine it could in other households, but it's an interesting topic to write about nonetheless.

Part of the reason there's no tension between us in this area—besides the obvious—is that she doesn't have as much invested in the Red Sox as I do in the Yankees. I've been a Yankees fan for close to 40 years. My dad's been a Yankees fan for about twice as long as I have.

KJ's only lived in Boston since 2001 and, like many other transplants, she got swept up in the excitement of the hometown team pretty quickly. And, why not? You certainly have to admire the dedication of sports fans in this town. I doubt there are such statistics available, but if there were, I'd be willing to bet Boston has the highest per capita rate of rapid sports fans—pink hats not withstanding—than anywhere else in the country.

During the 2009 World Series, in which she rooted for the Yankees, I was beginning to think she was going to become a Yankees convert. She really seemed to want to root for the same team as I did, and I believe I even told people—perhaps a bit over-confidently—that it was only a matter of time. I've since realized I was probably wrong, and I'm fine with that.

In fact, I don't know that I want her to change loyalties just because of me. Despite the fact she hasn't been a Red Sox fan all her life, she's still got some serious time invested in them. Plus, they've won two World Series during the time she's been a fan, and I can't imagine changing teams and being conflicted when looking back on the past glory of your former team.

She did, however, tell me the other night—at Fenway Park, of all places—that she thinks she wants a Cano jersey. So, I'm pretty much happy with the fact that she's a Yankees fan only when they're not playing the Red Sox. Now, if there's ever a repeat of 2003—or 2004, for that matter—I'm not exactly sure how it will play out in our house, but I'm sure we can handle it.

On the other hand, does it make me a bad husband that I just can't bring myself to ever pull for the Red Sox? Obviously, considering they're the Yankees' division rivals, this is somewhat understandable. But, if the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs and the Sox are still playing, what then?

Thinking about the subject of conversion further, I don't think I know a single person who's converted from being a Red Sox fan to a Yankees fan, or vice-versa. The closest example I can come up with is my good buddy El-Squared, as he likes to sometimes call himself. I've known him for about as long as I've been a Yankees fan, and he actually used to be kind of a Yankees fan as well, but not really.

I recall going to a game at the stadium with him, his younger brother Bernard, and their father, but El was one of those kids who was a fan by default, until he got a little older and realized he really didn't care.

Then, he moved to Boston to go to grad school a little over 20 years ago, and he's never left. During that time frame, he's developed more of an interest in professional sports than he ever had as a kid, and has become a Red Sox and a Patriots fan.

But, I consider his more of a case of cultural assimilation, rather than religious conversion.

It was once suggested that, if I lived in Boston long enough, it would only be a matter of time before I became a Red Sox fan. Well, I've been here 14 years now and that inference couldn't be further from the truth. I guess it's just that, as Steve Wynn or Scott McCaughey might say, my soul can't be rearranged.