The Accidental Fan: May the Red Sox be with you

by Sabena Allen | 1/28/19 2:00am

The Accidental Fan: May the Red Sox Be With You

Naturally, each of us has a hierarchy of things we like to do. For a lot of my family from Alaska, watching the Seahawks is very, very high on their list. Perhaps disproportionately high — but don’t tell them I said that. When I go over to see my grandparents, they usually have their TV on. On any normal day, my grandma will either turn it down or turn it off when guests arrive. No such luck when the Seahawks are on. In fact, it becomes rather difficult to talk to my grandfather about anything not related to football. On game day, we mostly just sit and watch. In the event that I do try to interact with my grandma, our conversation is usually interrupted by game-related jargon. 

And my grandfather isn’t even the one who loves the Seahawks most! Recently, we were at a family gathering where a lot of us were joking about being surprised that anyone had even shown up given that the Seahawks were playing that day. No one even wanted to know the score because they had each recorded the game and intended to watch it later. I feel like that is a specific type of fan, versus my mother who, as a Bruins fanatic, always wants to know the score. She certainly likes to watch the game on TV, but will be happy to listen on the radio. If neither of those options are available, she resorts to checking her app. Although she loves watching games, her focus is more about who is scoring when. 

These two different styles illustrate a difference in what is important to different types of fans. My mom will always know when the “Bs” are playing and will know the outcome of each game. My family members who are Seahawks fans always want to see the game and know what happened, regardless of the score. They want to experience it in real time and not know the outcome before seeing the action for themselves. It’s almost like having spoilers for the end of a movie. 

Speaking of movies, this past fall, my dad, my stepmom, one of my friends and I all decided to watch “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.” To provide some context here, my friend and I fall hard under the “Accidental Fan” category. I know a little more than he does (I mean, I would sure hope so given that I write for the sports section), but neither of us is especially fanatic about any team. My father is knowledgeable about sports but is not a fanatic. My stepmom absolutely loves baseball. Not any other sports. Just baseball. She is a huge Boston Red Sox fan (which I can relate to) and loves listening to baseball on the radio. In fact, I’d say pretty unequivocally that she likes baseball more than she likes movies. Now, our movie night also happened to be Oct. 26, 2018, the night that the LA Dodgers beat the Red Sox 3-2 in a game that lasted 18 innings and over seven hours, which made it the longest World Series game ever. They essentially played two games in one.  

If the game had been a normal, nine-inning game, it would have been over by the time we started “Star Wars” and this wouldn’t be a story. It would simply have been my stepmom listening to baseball before the movie and a typical LaserDisc viewing of “A New Hope” (yes, my dad owns LaserDiscs; yes, it is both extremely dated and extremely awesome). However, once we decided to watch the movie and she decided to join, she had to stop listening to come upstairs, assuming that the game (which I believe was already well into overtime) would be over soon. She was tracking the game on her phone and continued to give updates that it was not yet over. Her app provides details about who is pitching, who is batting and where the ball is being hit. Of course, this is much more in-depth than my mother keeping track of the score via alerts to her phone, yet somewhere in between that and watching the entirety of a recorded game. Both the Sox and the Dodgers continued to burn through pitchers and the score remained even. On the note of “Star Wars” and the Dodgers, Rian Johnson (director of “The Last Jedi”) is a major Dodgers fan and wrote some hilarious tweets about the World Series that you should definitely check out. Though that does not mean I approve of his choice of team. 

As a Red Sox fan, I was hoping the Sox would win that Oct. 26th game. My stepmom was actually hoping the Dodgers would win because she always hopes that there will be more World Series games, thus extending the season. I can get behind that logic, though I don’t listen to games the way she does. In fact, I don’t keep up with games or scores unless I have a specific reason to. And as I have written about in this column before, I really do love the Red Sox. However, I think that I can conclude something from the experience of watching “Star Wars” at the same time as being updated about an important Red Sox game. I may be an Accidental sports fan, but I am not an accidental “Star Wars” fan. 

Again, we all have our hierarchy. But one does not need to like sports more than “Star Wars” in order to consider oneself a fan.