There were many sounds that could be heard when Yankee Aaron Boone hit his home run in the bottom of the 11th in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series. The crack of his bat. The cheer of the fans. And the little hearts of a million Red Sox fans breaking.

I silently perched on the edge of my couch in my lounge during Game Seven, surrounded by my friends. All of us Red Sox fans. All of our heads draped in our “rally towels” emblazoned with one word – “Believe.”

A million superstitious thoughts were running through my head – did I kiss my Fenway poster before I left my room this morning? Was I wearing my lucky underwear? Would the rally towel be more effective, although far less attractive, if it wasn’t on my head?

Then I stopped myself. I stopped thinking about all the stupid ritual stuff I had been doing since the Sox clinched the Wild Card spot. I just sat there and believed that they would win. I thought about how wonderful our team is. They had fought back for 40 come-from-behind wins so far in 2003. I fully trusted that they could do it again. I really did believe.

Which is why I was came pretty close to searching for some black market Prozac when the game ended. The depression hit me square in the face. No matter how many times it has been said since 1918, I really believed that this was the year. But despite how wet my pillow was with tears that night, I could never imagine leaving my team behind. Win or lose, I am always and forever going to be deeply in love with the Red Sox.

Sox fans love our team with more passion than most things in our lives. We react to everything that happens, whether it is positive or negative, with far more enthusiasm than is called for, or appropriate.

We do it out of love. Sure, they may not have won a World Series in 85 years and the majority of them have awkward facial hair, but that is no matter. The love that we feel is almost indescribable. It is an overwhelming love that keeps us rooting year, after year, after year, after year, after year.

I see someone wearing a Red Sox hat or shirt, and I instantly feel a bond. It’s as if we grew up with the same ideals, we’re in it together. We have been taught the same important life lessons – how to be a good loser, how to be patient, how to put things in perspective, and how to hate the Yankees with all the fiery heat of hell. Seriously. It’s not just something we say. We rejoiced on Saturday night at the mere thought of their sadness.

You won’t find another team in baseball with more heart. Do other teams shave their heads to rally for a World Series win? No. Do other teams hug each other with awe-inspiring affection after every at bat? No. This is perhaps why so many people, Yankees fans included, were saying, “I’d love to see the Sox go all the way this year.”

This year’s team truly deserved it. It would have been like seeing the charming nerd that could never score a girl finally get his first kiss. And although it wasn’t our time to win the World Series, Red Sox fans around the country know it will be some day. Come May, the blood will come back to our faces, and we will be filled with a renewed hope. “This is the year.” And we’ll always believe.

Mittleman can be reached at

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