Thursday, November 01, 2007

A World Series Story From the Heart – A Tale Both Touching and True

If I had heard the story I am about to share with you from any source other than my trusted friend who called me with the news, I might wonder if it might be an urban legend. But my friend is an unimpeachable source, and I can tell you that as implausible as the tale may seem, it actually happened in the past week as the World Series was wrapping up. In order to preserve confidentiality, some of the details of this story are being left vague.

My friend was born outside of the U.S., came to Boston for college, and began a love affair with the Red Sox that he has passed down to his children. He runs a software company in Yankees territory – a few hundred miles to the south of Boston. My friend has an employee who is a life-long Red Sox fan, having been raised to follow the Red Sox by watching his father’s love for the team. The father is afflicted with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, and for the past four years, he has not even recognized family members. My friend, knowing of the father’s love for the Red Sox, purchased a Red Sox cap and gave it to his employee to pass along to the father. The TV set in his room in the medical facility where he now resides is often set to the baseball games, but he has demonstrated no sign that he comprehended what was happening on the screen.

This past Sunday evening, his wife arrived to visit him, and turned the TV to the World Series game – Game #4 – featuring the Red Sox trying to closeout out the sweep against the Colorado Rockies. She reached into the closest, grabbed the Red Sox cap and placed it gently and lovingly on her husband’s head. She sat holding her husband’s hand watching the opening innings of the game. He turned to her and said: “Honey, do you remember when we went to Game #6 of the 1975 World Series and saw Carlton Fisk hit that homerun that ended the game? Look at these young kids the Red Sox have playing for them now. They are amazing!”

His wife was astounded. This was the first time in four years he had been able to communicate with anyone. She excused herself and called their adult children who lived in the area. Soon they began to arrive to share this remarkable window of lucidity. And for almost 8 hours, they visited together and interacted with each other, until around 3:00 AM, when the father, exhausted by the uncommon expenditure of energy, fell asleep.

I am not sure if there are any medical professionals who could offer a rational explanation for what occurred that night. This is a story that is about so much more than a baseball game. This is about an emotional event – the Red Sox being back in the World Series – that for a fleeting instant, unlocked a mind and a heart that had been held captive by a persistent fog of forgetfulness and senescence. The “young kids” – Pedroia, Ellsbury, Beckett, Del Carmen, Lester – helped an old man and his family to recapture the joys of the past and to forge a brief miracle of connection and love.

Baseball – especially Red Sox baseball – is so much more than a mere game! Share the joy with someone special today!

Al

4 comments:

Don M. said...

Fantastic story. Both World Series have given birth to a number of great family oriented stories. This is one of them. Good stuff.

NH Knitting Mama said...

What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

Anali said...

Talk about your heart-warming stories! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Margaret said...

Thanks for posting this.