Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bob Lobel: Fenway's Obession With the Wave and Other Sports "Stuff"

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Just stuff sometimes says it all.

By this weekend the World Cup comes to an end. Soccer goes away and hides for another four years. There could be an attempt by the USA to hold a tournament to rival the World Cup, it's what we do.

If we can't win it, then let's at least try to own it.  

There is one thing I need to complain about that is similar to a unique type of fan behavior known only to very few stadia in the country.  Behavior number one is what I call the “dance of soccer.” Someone breathes on you and you go down as if shot. It has become very annoying. Besides, if someone really gets hurt, ie, Neymar, then it's like the boy who cried wolf. 

Really, the fake injuries have made a mockery of their serious beautiful sport. It is an element of ugliness in what the world claims as beauty. The  other behavior that I just cannot grow to like, let alone love or participate in is the- wait for it- fan wave, seen nightly at Fenway Park. 

Somehow, somewhere it starts in the bleachers and does its circle. To participate must feel like some initiation ceremony for a fan newbie. Believe me when I tell you there is a great divide between new and old when it comes to the wave. It is seen by many as a bush league maneuver in a major league town. 

Those that do it say it makes them feel like they belong. Strange, but try to find one other place that does it without fail night in and night out, no matter the score. I think it's probably a boredom thing. Our attention span is short and our games are so long that it's no wonder an anomaly like the wave is a staple of Fenway fandom.  

And I can promise you this, unless it's banned like smoking, it will never go away. So, let me also tell you that when it starts and makes it's one or two trips around the park, there are those that pretend it's not happening.  

I'm guilty of that, but so what. If it makes them happy, go for it.

So Jon Lester is the only one to make the All Star team… Who will argue that? 

Last year the penny came up heads, this year it's been tails night after night. It's remarkable that these things can turn on a dime, but trying to explain what is happening on Yawkee Way is not easy.  Logically,  you can claim last year's team was driven by a cause. They were who they were, not for themselves, but for others. 

Not so now, but that’s ok.  

It has to be. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory has been a watchword over and over again. It's frustrating, especially now that the Stanley Cup is history, the NBA is history, the NFL Draft has come and gone, and the World Cup is about the disappear. 

What's left is the local entry in the American League East. 

I will throw this out: It is time for a character check. It's time to test the players and see who is strong and who is not. I'm not disappointed Ortiz didn’t make the All Star team as a starter.

I'm actually disappointed in Ortiz in general. 

Body language, I guess. Running balls out, I guess. David Price was probably right about the attitude of being bigger than the game. It's ok to be bigger than the game when you're winning, but it sticks out like a sore thumb when you're not. 

Let's all try to get along until the Patriots fire it up. Maybe one of the great comebacks of all time is about to happen. I don’t see it, but I am sure we will see that wave.

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