I just finished chapter 6 in Adam Grant’s incredible book “Think Again”. The topic reminded me of something I posted over on Medium in 2018, but not here on this blog...this seemed like a good time to paste it over here.
I get it.
The Yankees (and their fans) provided decades of grief.
As a Red Sox fan, the only thing as enjoyable as a Boston win is a Yankee loss. (Luis Gonzalez will always be one of my favorite players!)
I began following the Red Sox in 1978. Those familiar with baseball history know that my introduction to baseball immediately exposed me to the heartbreak of being a Red Sox fan.
It didn’t get any better over the next 25 years.
While the Red Sox and Yankees were said to have the greatest rivalry in sports…their rivalry was similar to the rivalry a moth has with a windshield.
There were so many times when the Sox led late in a game, and you just knew it…one way or another, the Red Sox would blow it. And they did. What made it worse was the looks on the faces throughout Yankee Stadium as they began the chants of “1918!” It hurt. A lot.
In the 7th game of 2003, I went to bed after the 9th inning. I knew what would happen. I didn’t know how, but I knew what the end result would be.
After getting so close, I couldn’t deal with it one more time. I woke up the next morning to see that the list of “B” words had another…Babe, Bucky “Bleeping”, and now Boone.
Then 2004 happened. And it was perfect. If the Red Sox had defeated the Yankees 4 games to 2, or even if they had swept them, it would have been amazing. But to come back from an 0–3 deficit, in the fashion they did, felt like 86 years of frustration being taken out on your tormentor. It was so good. Life as a Sox fan would never be the same!
And then 2007.
Followed by 2013.
Now, most recently, 2018. And 2018 not only included a Red Sox World Series win, but also a couple of thrashings of the team from NY…3–1 in games and 16–1 in game three. Oh, and by the way, the Red Sox co-opted Frank Sinatra and that stupid song at the same time (thanks Aaron Judge)!
Which brings me back to why I want Red Sox nation to retire the Yankee chant.
Imagine you are 40 years old. You win some important award in your field. With all eyes on you as you give your acceptance speech, you spend 5 minutes ranting about the bully who used to beat you up in 6th grade. While it might feel good in the moment, you’re letting everyone know you are still that little kid, and that bully is still taking up residence in your head. A friend would tell you to see a counselor and work on moving past what was clearly a traumatic time in your life. That kid doesn’t deserve to take up any more of your thoughts or time.
Every time I hear that “Yankees suck” chant (like in the World Series), that’s all I can think of. It wasn’t fun being on the receiving end of all those beating for all those years. But that’s over. This year the Yankees were simply a small bump in the road on the way to 119 wins and the trophy. They don’t have to live in our heads anymore!
The last thing we should do while enjoying another World Series Championship is spend any time acknowledging that team we dispatched the first week in October.