I grew up in Connecticut. Make no mistake - I grew up on the Red Sox side of the state. My Dad was born and raised and educated near Boston and it was simply taken for granted in our home that we were a Red Sox family. And even in school, I seem to recall listening to a particularly imporant game (Carl Yastrzemski - Yay!) in a ninth grade classroom.
But now, my home is definitely not in Red Sox Nation. For example, our church has families that are enthusiastic supporters of the Yankees. We've even had "mixed marriages" in church, with one spouse supporting the Red Sox and the other supporting the Yankees. I don't know how they do it.
Back in 2004, my mom and dad and aunt came for a visit. They came during the American League pennant race, and the Red Sox were one game away from losing the pennant.
That Sunday, I was privileged to give the children's talk in church. The Gospel lesson for the day was the incident when Jesus went to the synagogue in his home town and read the prophetic scroll of the good things God would one day do for the people of Israel and the world. And then he announced that these prophecies were being fulfilled right then, in front of them - in front of his friends and family and neighbors. The people didn't believe him, and ran him out of town.
I sat down on the chancel steps, and the children sat in front of me. I summarized the Gospel story, and then I said something like this:
What Jesus told the people in his home town was unbelievable to them. It was just too good to be true. It's as if I told my Mom and Dad and Aunt, who are here today, that this year the Red Sox will win the World Series.
Alas, I had forgotten my audience. There was a mini-riot among the children. One little boy started pumping his fist in the air and chanting "Yan-KEE! Yan-KEE!" (His mother told me later that she was mortified.)
I don't remember how I finished that talk that day. Perhaps the memory loss is merciful. But the odd thing was that the Red Sox did, indeed, win the World Series that year.
I told a friend this story, and he looked at me seriously and said, "you broke The Curse."
Of course I didn't. It was the great members of a great baseball team who won the World Series that year. They've won the Series since, too. (Yay!) But the lesson I took away from all of this was that "too good to be true" isn't always. Maybe sometimes things are so good that they have to be true.