Today was the best Sunday I have had in a long time. After driving in to Boston, I arrived at the TD Banknorth Garden for the celebration for the winners of the Will McDonough Sports Writing Contest. We received a "press credential" at the door as well as tickets to the Celtics game, then headed upstairs to for the ceremonies.
Once I met up with my English teacher and my journalism teacher, I took my reserved seat at the front of the room. Sean McDonough was the master of ceremonies, and he gave a short speech before they began handing out plaques to the winners. That is when I found out that Terry Francona’s daughter was in attendance.
In fact, she was sitting right in the seat in front of me, and with her head turned slightly, she looked exactly like her father. After the initial wave of excitement from sitting so close to the manager of the Red Sox’s daughter wore off, I felt really bad for her. Here she was, at an awards ceremony for a great achievement, and her dad was not there. She had written about what the 2004 World Series Championship meant to her, the fact that seeing her father maybe twice during the long season might actually pay off. In her essay, Jamie Francona says
"Everything came down to this last out. I wondered if all those sacrifices were worth it. My father is the manager of the Boston Red Sox. Visualize being with your dad only one-third of the year. I can relate to that. Previously my dad worked for the Phillies, Rangers, Indians, and Athletics. He would leave for spring training in February. We would see him only once or twice during the season until he returned home to Yardley in October. I wondered if all of that lost time was about to become worth it."
Imagine what it was like for her when her father’s tires were slashed on fan appreciation day in Philadelphia. How did she feel when WEEI nicknamed her father Fran-coma? I can only wonder what was going through her mind when Tito got sick during the opening series in New York last season. It brought a whole new light on what dissing the manager meant to people. I will never be able to look at criticism of Francona the same again.
After the ceremony, the group went to see the unveiling of a 3D mural of the Red Sox winning the ALCS and World Series. After the tarp was pulled off of the piece of artwork, I went up to Sean McDonough and asked if I could see his ring. He obliged, and I found myself holding the jewel that many had not seen in Boston for 86 years.
This may have been the best part of my day, week, perhaps even this month. I turned the precious work of gold over in my hand, taking in the ruby B, the diamond edging, the inscriptions on the side (Greatest Comeback in History on one side, 4-0 Sweep and of course, McDonough, on the other)
Words can not describe the feeling that rushed through me at that moment. I did not even have to pay! As a lifelong Sox fan, the ability to hold a World Series Championship ring is not something that will be taken for granted.
So thank you, to Sean McDonough, the folks at The Boston Globe, and most of all Will McDonough for making all of this possible. Today really has made me consider entering again next year.
Pictures to come soon.
Last minute addition: I just got junk mail from someone who decided to list the subject as Nanette. No, no!