Monday, May 26, 2008

Special Report

The Funny Side Of Rivalry
By Aimee La Fountain

I grew up in New Jersey, which is a fine state except one aspect -- it’s full of Yankees fans. As a dedicated Red Sox fan, I have always thought that the strong Yankees following in Jersey is its fatal flaw.

Now, at this point you may be wondering how someone in New Jersey is a Sox fan. It’s simple really -- family heritage. My father is from Massachusetts and wanting to be a good parent, he naturally raised me to follow the Red Sox. What’s really inconvenient is that there are very few Sox fans in New Jersey. So, I have endured the jeers and various other challenges to my loyalty that come with living in New Jersey as a Sox fan. Yes, there’s nothing quite like the experience of walking into a classroom in a Sox tee shirt and getting banished from the room because the teacher is a Yankees fan.

When I came to New York, I hoped that the Yankees-Red Sox ratio would balance out a little more. I figured that between Mets fans and people form out of state, the presence of Yankees fans may be more modest than New Jersey. Turns out, it’s hard to escape the Yankees ghost. I was horrified to find that I was still surrounded by an abundance of Yankees fans. I soon realized that Red Sox fans are like a secret society in New York.

Whenever I spot a Sox fan in the city, it’s like seeing a long lost relative. And, on the chance that two Sox fans should cross paths there is a remarkable sight in that mutual look of admiration between two baseball minorities. Surely, you’ve seen one of us out there; we’re that one person in the bar that’s happy when the Yankees lose a game or the only people smiling the day that the Yankees lose the playoffs. And, if it sounds strange that a Red Sox fan should be in New York, I can offer you an example of the opposite effect and refer you to my friend, a Yankees fan, who lives in Massachusetts.

This brings me to the complicated issue of mixed relationships. Growing up in New Jersey I was exposed to Yankees fans at a young age and understood that I should respect people who may have baseball beliefs that conflict with mine. I’m always in favor of practicing tolerance and this is why I have many friends who are Yankees fans -- I’ve learned to accept them, despite their sports misjudgments.

The most horrifying phenomenon, however, is when you’re shocked to find yourself romantically interested in someone of a different baseball affiliation. Such was the case when I met an incredibly charming man who seemed perfect until the day I spotted him wearing a Yankees cap. However, I overlooked his weakness and we ended up dating. It didn’t work out in the end and I’m certain that it was our mixed baseball beliefs that cursed the relationship.

Life is funny. The harder you try to escape certain things the more you find yourself surrounded by them.

Aimee La Fountain won Honorable Mention in the 2008 Mortimer Levitt Essay Contest for Marymount Manhattan College students.

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