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This isn’t a story about me, or about my love life. Heck, I don’t think it even has anything to do with my life. I mean, I know the story. Everybody knows the story. At least, every Red Sox fan knows the story. But you see, I’m not a Red Sox fan, I just know a Red Sox fan, and this is a story about him.

Christopher Murphy was your average teenage boy, well, at least on the outside. Chris took regular classes, no honors, no advanced placement. Math, English, Science, History, you know, the usual. He wasn’t a kid that you’d call “popular” or a kid that you’d call an “outcast.” He just sort of blended in with the crowd. Chris never thought there was anything special about him; in fact, he knew that there was nothing special about him. He was an only child, didn’t play sports, and didn’t play an instrument. He didn’t really care about his school work, didn’t care about anything. His teachers gave up on him; there was “no hope” in teaching him when he didn’t want to try.

No one cared about Christopher Murphy. No one cared when he failed all his tests, barely passed the 7th grade, and showed up to school with bruises on his arm. No one cared when he cried, and skipped classes to just sit outside on the baseball field. Yes, Chris didn’t play any sports, but he wanted to. His passion was baseball, and baseball was the only thing that was keeping him alive.

You see, we call it the act of getting by. Chris was just getting by, trying to trudge through the days and just survive. He never cared about his school work; he barely ever did homework, and rarely ever got higher than a “C” on his tests. But, with what little effort he did put into school allowed him to move on and not fail.

At age six, Christopher’s alcoholic, crack snorting, marijuana smoking mother left him and his father. She ran away and left them. At least that’s what his father had told him, but it wasn’t the truth. She left because Chris’ father was abusive. At age eight, Christopher’s father began to beat him. It took him two years to finally lay a hand on his son, but it was two years too little. Mr. Murphy had lost his job, and food stamps just weren’t doing it anymore. He snapped, and his anger began to consume his life, and the only way to get rid of that anger was to take it out on Chris. Chris never told anyone, he couldn’t trust anyone to tell them his story. He was alone, on his own, and the only way to get out was to run away.

But he couldn’t run away, his dad needed him. After all, he was his father, and you can’t abandon family, you know? So, Chris sucked it up, took the beatings when they came, got by in school, and spent every waking possible moment at the old baseball field on the outskirts of the town.

Well, anyway, so Chris didn’t play any sports, but he loved baseball. He loved the Red Sox, and he didn’t become a Red Sox fan when they won the World Series or anything, either. He became a fan when the Red Sox had no fans, and stuck with the Red Sox through thick and thin, no matter what. He never gave up hope. He was a true fan. He found baseball when his mother left him. His dad didn’t know what to do with the Chris, you know, because he didn’t really even know how to take care of the kid. Chris’s mom did it all. Anyway, the first night Chris’s mother was gone, Mr. Murphy plopped Chris in front of the TV and said, “Here, watch some baseball. Don’t expect the Sox to win though.”

What the heck is baseball, and who the heck are the Sox? Chris had wondered. Well, his question got answered that night. Baseball, to Chris, is the most magnificent sport that could ever have been invented. The instant he saw a homerun hit over the Monster, Chris fell in love. He watched every single game, every single night. Red Sox baseball became the only thing he cared about. Every night, at 7:05 PM, Chris got away. He got to slip out of his skin for a few hours, for nine or more innings, and just truly be taken away by magic.

I don’t think Chris ever loved anything more than baseball. In 2004, Chris entered his senior year at high school. His last year in school, and then he was off to college. Or well, something of the sort. Chris hadn’t done so well his junior year, and money was tight. His father started to drink a while back, but the beatings came less often. Though, the verbal abuse got worse. Throughout the years from age six to age sixteen, baseball was the only thing that was keeping Chris alive. Chris had thought about taking his own life numerous times. He had nothing to live for anymore; at least that’s what was running around in his mind. His grades plummeted every now and then, his father was a drunken b****rd who could barely walk, and the Red Sox didn’t know he existed. He loved the Red Sox, but they didn’t love him back. They weren’t going to win, and his father even told him that they weren’t going to win.

Every year was heart break, and baseball just wasn’t doing it for Chris anymore. He lost himself in the hustle and bustle of life. He lost himself to depression. No one could pull Chris out of the slump he was in, not even the Red Sox. If he was gone, no one would miss him. The Red Sox sure as h*ll wouldn’t miss him. Chris had no friends, a broken family (if you could even call it a family), and no future ahead of him. What would he do with the rest of his life? He had a slim chance of getting into college, and even if he did, he wouldn’t be able to pay. Not to mention, his father probably wouldn’t even let him leave. Chris was the family income, working two jobs. Every day he contemplated over whether or not he should just do it. Eventually, he contemplated long enough and the days (barely) passed by. He made it to his senior year, and he was still alive.

He had still kept up with his Red Sox, watching all the games, but he didn’t stress the losses, and he didn’t get pumped up over the wins. Chris became emotionless, until the Sox started turning it all around. They started to win for more than two games in a row. And it all started late August, when Chris started going out to the old baseball field on the outskirts of town again, after he had stopped going there for years.

Chris would bring his little radio, the one that his mother had given him long ago, and sit on the pitcher’s mound, just listening to the game and face the stars. He’d close his eyes and just listen to the game, clear his mind, and let the sound of the announcers take his heart to a better place. A place where and when things used to be a little bit okay. Chris began to find peace again with the sound of a bat, and a beautiful double play. He wasn’t going to take his life anymore. That thought was far behind him. He didn’t realize it before, but he did in fact have something to live for. He had his Boston Red Sox baseball. I mean, yeah, they didn’t know he existed. But he knew they existed. He knew that they were there, every night, or every afternoon, ready to play 162 games. Win or lose, the Red Sox come back. Chris’s mom never came back for him, and his old dad, the one that loved him and didn’t drink every night just to feel happy, was long gone.

Friends didn’t exist, so obviously, they wouldn’t be coming around anytime soon. At least, friends outside of me. I wouldn’t really call myself a friend of his, though, but I know his story, that’s all. Anyway, this isn’t about me. No one wanted to be friends with the Chris that they thought they knew. The Chris they thought was too normal and average for them, the Chris that never had any fun. They didn’t know the real Chris. The one that I knew, the one that worked so hard to make sure his father was comfortable, the one who put others before himself, and the one that cared, even though it didn’t seem like he did, because he just didn’t have the energy to show it. Chris had a hard life, and no one knew it. At least, not until now…

Baseball saved his life. Yeah, he gave up on it a few times, but I mean, who wouldn’t? After you lose for 86 something years in a row, you tend to lose your fandom. But Chris still stuck with the Red Sox, he didn’t give up. It was the only thing that he didn’t give up on. And it paid off. Every day, Chris went to the old baseball field on the outskirts of town, with his little radio, sat on the mound, and did his thing. He listened to the game, closed his eyes, and envisioned being at America’s greatest ballpark, watching balls bounce off the Monster, hearing the bullpen band, seeing Terry Francona do what he did best at the end of the dugout. Every day, the same routine, and every day, a new hope formed. It was the year. The year that every Red Sox fan had been waiting for, the year that Boston would win it all.

A day before Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, Chris was working at his second job. He had a little Boston Red Sox baseball keychain attached to his car keys, that he fiddled with whenever he got bored. A customer came in and saw him playing with the keychain. Now, you see, Chris lived in a small town and it was a local store, so all the customers he had seen before. But, this customer was new. He had never seen her before in his life, but she was so friendly. She had calm eyes, and a soothing voice. He had never been acquainted with someone like her before, aside from his mother. Well, anyway, Chris was playing with the keychain and this mystery lady saw. She asked him, “so you like the Red Sox?” and he replied, “Yeah, I love them. I think they’re gonna do it this year.”

“Me too.” She had replied. The first positive reply he had gotten about the Red Sox all day. People were skeptical in Chris’s town. He’d hear, “Yeah, the Red Sox seem like they’re gonna make it, but they never do. Don’t get your hopes up. Losing is why they get paid.”

Hope was all Chris had. Baseball was all Chris had. You just don’t give up, he learned that already. You can’t give up, because something better always comes along. Chris’s life was utter h*ll, but the Red Sox came along and they made things a little bit better. They brightened up the days a little bit more. Baseball was the only thing in the world that Chris loved, and when she looked into Chris’s eyes, it’s like she knew that.

She gave him a slight smile and whispered, “Stay here.” Seriously, where else would Chris have gone? He was working, you know. Right. So, she left the store and went to her car. Chris didn’t think much of it, and continued fiddling with his keychain. She came back in and handed him an envelope, and said, with a smile, “I won’t be able to make it, but I’m sure you can get the day off for it.”

Who was this woman and why was she handing him what she was? Well, it didn’t really matter to Chris. He was as grateful as grateful could get. He would finally be going to Fenway for the first time and for one of the biggest games yet. The woman left without buying anything, and without saying anything afterwards, either. Sometimes, things just happen.

Yeah, sometimes, things just happen. Chris and his father were driving up to Boston for the game, and you know, being the drunken b****rd that he was, Chris’s father had a few drinks.

Chris wasn’t going to miss that game for anything. Have you ever seen the movie “Angels in the outfield”? It’s a good movie, and I’m pretty sure the title gives away what the movie was about. Well, anyway, Chris wasn’t going to miss that game.

Chris was a good person, and good people go to heaven. But, they’re angels first. They’re angels when they have a job to do, and when their job hasn’t been completed yet. Anyway, you kind of get where I’m going with this, right? If you’re a red Sox fan, you know what happens that night. Dave Roberts steals second in the 9th, and after, the Red Sox beat the Yankees three more times. And lastly, sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four games, winning their first World Series after 86 long, dry, painstaking years.

Baseball saved Chris, so Chris returned the favor.

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