October of 1986. I was fifteen years old and a sophomore in high school.
(Sidenote: whenever I type or write the word “sophomore” I hear Keith Jackson’s voice in my head: “he’s a soff-a-more nose tackle from Denton, Texas…”)
Anyway, the age of fifteen is a pretty horrific age. The desire to fit in and to be accepted, combined with a time of enormous physical and emotional change of all kinds makes for an interesting mix, doesn’t it? Regardless, October of 1986 was also the month when the Red Sox were making their run to the World Series and of course, the inevitable crushing disappointment of a team finding new, terribly creative ways to break our hearts. I still blame the Bob Stanley/Calvin Schiraldi duo more than I blame Bill Buckner.
Game 6 of the World Series sticks out in my memory – not necessarily because it was one of most surreal baseball games of all time – but because it was also the first night I attended a large high school party and, uh, had some drinks. So yeah, fifteen years old, drinks, party, changing, game 6….all rolled into one. A pretty incredible night on so many levels.
The party, for me, ended towards the end of the game. I think they might have been in the 7th inning or so – all I know is that there were also people from New York at this game and there was a fierce, but respectful and fun back-and-forth between the Sox and Mets fans. We were young and having fun. Experiencing a little independence and probably being dorks. But I knew I had to get home and I also knew that my friends had already left and I needed a ride home. I asked around and could have gotten into a car with some others, but I knew their condition and even though I was a little tipsy, knew not to get into a car with them (see Mom and Dad? I was smart….).
As luck would have it, someone who rented out the basement apartment of this house had just come home work, a 23 or 24 year old woman and since I only lived about 2 miles from this party, asked if she could give me a lift. She obliged and I was relieved – I’d be getting home on time to make curfew and also catch the end of the game – from a sober driver.
Well, as we all know, luck can go awry quicker than a Florida thunderstorm. My parents noticed that I had definitely not been dropped off by the friends I had left with and when prompted, I simply told the truth – it was a twenty-something girl whose name I didn’t know. Naturally, my parents were furious. I didn’t even want to try and explain that I was somewhere where drinking was going on, so I couldn’t even unleash the fact that I had been responsible and made sure that the driver was not impaired. I just took the yelling and went into my room, where I turned on the TV with the volume as low as it could be and watched as the Red Sox stomped a mudhole in my heart.
The point? I dunno. I recently read an excerpt about the New York Mets in 1986 and it reminded me of these times. The excerpt is excellent (and a bit sad) which details the Mets hijinks after winning the NLCS that year. But I have to say, for other reasons I can’t remember or get into right now, that 1986 and 1987 were two of the best years of my life.
In other news: There’s no word on whether or not former ice hockey goon Bob Probert actually tried to pull the officer’s jersey over his head before trying to beat him up.
Song now playing: The Kinks – “Polly”