I’ve said it several times in the past, but it always bears repeating: A sporting event is more than just a game. Maybe it isn’t more than that to you. Maybe you don’t care at all. That’s fine. But that doesn’t mean sports don’t matter or that they aren’t important. Here’s an article from just after the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004 after an 86 year drought:
Such pilgrimages to the deceased, common after the Red Sox conquered the Yankees in the ALCS, were repeated throughout the graveyards of New England. The totems changed, but the sentiments remained the same. At Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, for instance, gravestones were decorated with Red Sox pennants, hats, jerseys, baseballs, license plates and a hand-painted pumpkin.
So widespread was the remembrance of the deceased that several people, including Neil Van Zile Jr. of Westmoreland, N.H., beseeched the ball club to issue a permanent, weatherproof official Red Sox grave marker for dearly departed fans, similar to the metal markers the federal government provides for veterans. (Team president Lucchino says he’s going to look into it, though Major League Baseball Properties would have to license it.) Van Zile’s mother, Helen, a Sox fan who kept score during games and took her son to Game 2 of the 1967 World Series, died in 1995 at 72.
“There are thousands of people who would want it,” Van Zile says. “My mom didn’t get to see it. There isn’t anything else I can do for her.”
This was a common sight throughout Boston and surrounding areas. After the Sox made their improbable comeback that fall, people filled the local cemeteries, visiting the sites of their loved ones who never got to see their team win it all.
That sounds like more than a game to me.