When I was 8 years old, the Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series drought with one epic comeback against the New York Yankees, and one perfect sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals.
I thought the entire world was rooting the Red Sox to pull it off from my hometown in Webster, Massachusetts.
In my little mind, baseball was the most enormous thing in the world. It was dramatic, rewarding, and extraordinary all at the same time. I fell in love with that 2004 team, and every Sox team that came after it.
Growing up, I was a sports fan just like any other kid. I watched my dear Red Sox go on to win several more championships throughout the years, along with the New England Patriots, and some bonus wins from the Celtics and Bruins.
I researched the old greats adamantly. I could tell you just about any player’s stats on command. I was just a typical kid who loved sports.
But there was one thing not so typical: I was a girl.
And where I’d love to say that this was only one small detail of my fandom, and that it really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it became the whole crux of who I was.
As a girl, I wasn’t expected to care about things like how Derek Lowe pitched the most spectacular no-hitter in ‘02, or how I knew right from the start that Dustin Pedroia would send all those pitches deep into the Green Monster at Fenway Park.
The girls in school picked on me for wearing my Manny Ramirez jersey all throughout October, and what’s worse was that the boys shut me out of all their exclusive sports conversations.