“You’re not old enough. You haven’t waited long enough for this,” my mom said when I called her last week after the Red Sox swept the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. While I understand where she’s coming from as a life-long Bostonian, what my mom doesn’t get is that once you start rooting for the Red Sox, you know what challenges you’re accepting. You have an innate awareness of how long this team has lost. There aren’t any bandwagon jumpers here. In my relatively short time of die-hard Sox fandom, I have carried the weight of 86 years without a championship. But finally that weight has been lifted.

There will be few moments in my life, outside of maybe my marriage or perhaps the birth of my children, that will be able to top the moment of the last out in Game 4 of the World Series this year. Amid the cheers of friends, the shower of champagne and the inappropriate celebratory kissing, I realized that this was what it meant to be a fan. We all believed in them, and they won.

There are a lot of fans out there who saw winning against the New York Yankees in the ALCS as perhaps more important than winning the Series altogether. It’s not, but it’s close. The idea that the Sox made baseball history by coming back from being down three games to none to win against the Yankees is a glorious thought. It was the choke heard “’round the world.” And they deserved it, the evil, heartless, cocky cheaters. Come on, A-Rod, that’s not how you play the game.

It’s strange, and almost sacrilegious of me to say, but there were several times after we beat the Yankees that I almost began to wish that we didn’t win the Series. Part of me was thinking that half the integrity that comes with being a Red Sox fan lies in the fact that you root for a great team that never wins. Most fans have led a life of disappointment, and it’s that fact that defines them as dedicated.

But then I sobered up and realized that I obviously wanted them to win. Who was I kidding? This team was one of the more lovable and deserving teams that I’ve known. We had Big Papi David Ortiz with his teddy bear huggableness and mind-blowing ability to hit the ball. We had our homeboy Johnny Damon who, while not the sharpest crayon in the box, won us over with his flowing locks and tendency to pull through just when we needed him. We had MVP Manny Ramirez – when he smiled, fans knew everything was going to be OK. We had the relentless perseverance of pitcher Curt Schilling, whose blood soaked sock became a mini-emblem of this post season. Even the new guy, Orlando Cabrera, charmed us with his nervous eagerness at the plate, like an excited teenager about to have sex for the first time.

This win was for the city of Boston. It was for New England, and the Northeast. It was for fans scattered across the country, and for my brother in Costa Rica. It was for everyone who realized that it was our time. It was for anyone who has ever rooted for the underdog.

This world championship is bigger than us. It’s bigger than 2004. It’s 86 years worth of heartbreak. This year’s team won not only for us, but also our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. It’s for Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and yes, even Bill Buckner. On the eve of Oct. 27, Sox fans, both dead and alive, finally slept peacefully. At long last, the infernal curse is reversed. Get me a beer.

Mittleman can be reached at dmittleman@campustimes.org.

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