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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The end: a personal reflection.

It wasn't really the end of an era when the Spirit were knocked out last week.

I guess you could say that it's the end of the era of Fraser Field as a professional ballpark, since it's hard to imagine we will be seeing a pro team there any time soon. But to most people, it was an unfortunate event, but not really the end of an era, so to speak.

But for several of us at a certain age, the loss of the Spirit represents the end of a major part of our lives. For me and Eric and Dave and some of the younger kids like Joshua and Jordan we've really grown up a lot in these five summers, and the Spirit have played a big role in the people we have become.

We all have our own intensely personal stories about what the Spirit meant to us. For me, above all, the Fraser Faithful represented my first true group of friends. In the past, I've had plenty of friends, but I never really had a group of friends, where we were all friends with each other. The Spirit added that wonderful element to my life. The company really was the best part, although the baseball wasn't bad either.

I'd say that 2003 was kind of rock-bottom for me, for reasons that I really don't want to go in to here. But the summer of '03 was electric - for the first time, I had something to do all summer that I really, passionately loved. I wanted to be at the ballpark as soon as the gates opened every night, because when I went to Fraser Field, I stepped into another world - I world I liked a lot better than the other one I was inhabiting.

The winter from '03 to '04 was probably the longest and most miserable winter I've ever had. Things weren't going that well for me personally, or in school, and all I could think about was the coming summer and the return of the Spirit.

Then, in 2004, everything really took off. I met the rest of you guys. In 2003, I went to games with a lot of different friends of mine, but in '04, I felt comfortable just going myself and being with the rest of you. It was a magical summer and left me overwhelmingly happy for the first time in my life. You all probably know me as a bubbly, loud and energetic person. Pre '04 I was pretty quiet and introverted.

'05 added a new element - I dragged along my lovely girlfriend Amanda for the first time, and much to my surprise, she came to love it too, despite never caring about sports before that summer. Her being a part of it really made it even more special and important to me.

I've had so many strange and fun memories since those first few summers, moments that filled me with this raw feeling of excitement and joy - the only real word for it is ELECTRIC - that have rarely been matched at any other point in my life. That NAWBL tournament & Olympic penny hockey, the 12-hour doubleheader against Sussex, the 3-game sweep @ New Haven and marching around Yale Field with the Spirit flag, taking BP on the field a few weeks after the season ended in '05, Jimmy Hurst, all of it -- I get so emotional just thinking of those times even now.

As I told Steve Krause when he interviewed me for the Item when the Spirit announced they were going under, if the Spirit started this year, it probably wouldn't have been that big a deal to me. I probably would have gone to a few games because I love baseball, but that would have been it.

But I was 14 when the Spirit were announced in August of 2002 and at the time, it seemed like the coolest thing ever. And the 14-year-old me was right. I grew up at Fraser, and making it even more special was the fact that a bunch of other people grew up along with me.

My Spirit experience has been with me through all of high school, the craziness of senior year, and the start of college. Outside of the Spirit crew, I don't know how many of my friends from 5 years ago I still keep in touch with. 1 or 2 maybe?

You know how everyone has that place, where they go back and see it as a 40-year-old and it instantly brings them back to their childhood? For me, that place will forever be Fraser Field.

I knew it was a stupid thing to think even in 2003 and 2004, because even then I knew the Spirit wouldn't last that long, but I daydreamed about taking my kids to Fraser Field to see the Spirit and telling them about all the great times I had there.

Fraser Field really was my 'summer home' for these past 5 wonderful seasons. And the first time I see the park without that beautiful Spirit logo behind home plate, without the infield turf, without the big scoreboard in right, without the signage on the walls, without the Spirit logos all around, it's going to be incredibly emotional for me.

It's not something I look forward to seeing. But despite that, I will go back there some time soon. And I will always be back, both physically and in my mind.

We have a tendency to call everything good in our lives an 'unforgettable' experience, but in this case, it's 100% true. These 5 summers were unforgettable.

The names, faces and events that have defined the North Shore Spirit experience - Nick Lopardo, DaveCo, Jon de Vries, RUN IT OUT!, Jonathan Johnson, VERSUS, Marty Ginivan, BJ Weed, Yuri Sanchez, Elmira, Miles Wolff, Fat Eddie, D-Rob, Sussex, the Aces, Buzzy Francis, CELTICS, Spike, Don Boyle, Sparky, Rob Fischer, and on and on and on and on - will swirl around in my mind forever, and will always have a place in my heart, as long as I live.

17 comments:

DaveCo said...

Once again Joe,you have written a great post.

Howver,in the past people have both disagreed with what you said and have had differing points of view.........on this one I agree 100% and also have the same things that I will write sometimes soon.
You captured in that post what many of us can't express in that many words.

I'll probably write my personal reflection in a week or so...

Joe Grav said...

BTW:

September 20, 2007
Worcester: Traded C Michael DeCarlo to North Shore to complete the April 18 trade between the two clubs.

Anyone know anything about DeCarlo? I mean, if the franchise does exist next year, somewhere, even if it's a totally different location and name and staff, I will probably follow them.

DaveCo said...

I plan on it to.....and Ii don't.

his stats from canamleague.com are as follows:.296 avg in 24 games with 21 hits,15 rbi,and 4 homers. He also had a .383 on-base %

Anonymous said...

http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3542297

Guess Viki is now a Worcester Fan

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

NO I AM NOT A WORCESTER FAN! I WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING EXCET A NORTH SHORE SPIRIT AND RED SOX FAN! BUT ALEX TREZZA STILL RULES. But Worcester is too far away for me to get to go to games. I'll probably never get to see Alex again or another baseball game in my life.

Anonymous said...

Vic,
stay in touch, well get you and your Gramma to some Tornadoes games next year

Jill and Dave

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

Thanks Jill and Dave. I miss seeing all you guys at the games. I'd go Worcester to see Alex but I WILL NEVER cheer for the Worcester Tornados even if Trezza is on the team. My only teams are North Shore Spirit and the Red Sox. People wouldn't think it was no big deal if the Red Sox stopped playing and quit Fenway. People wouldn't just go pick another team to cheer for and I won't do that to the Spirit. I'm still going to try to save the team even if nobody else helps and nobody else cares about them. I grew up at Spirit games at Fraser Field and made a lot of friends there. There's a lot I want to write about Lynn and mayor Clancy but Grandma told me not to so I'll be quiet now.

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

What I know about DeCarlo is he'll never be as good a catcher or home run hitter as Trez. That was a stupid trade.

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

I've spent every summer for more than 1/2 my life at Fraser Field. I like my friends I made there. Joshua thank u for starting to teach me how to record scores. Joe, Jill, Dave and the rest of you guys thanks for not treating me like a little kid and letting me have fun with you & thanks for cheering for Alex Trezza too. Joe that works the pitching game you were always a lot of fun and so nice to us kids. I'm going to miss everybody.

Anonymous said...

I love the Buzzy Francis reference!! Go Aces! His girlfriend was outstanding.

There is at least a 50 - 50 chance that the Spirit will be here next year under new ownership.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Item had an okay editorial by Steve Krause today about Clancy securing Fraser & how unfair those remarks were to Nick. Unfortunately I don't think it's on line.
Anon #1

Anonymous said...

Link to North Shore Sunday Article
http://www.townonline.com/northshoresunday/homepage/x2033924180

Anonymous said...

im headed to florida...

DaveCo said...

yay (?)

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

Hey guys
I'm going to find out when the next city counsel meeting is and take my petitions to the meeting because the mayor and all the city counselors will be there. I have almost 500 signatures. I think I'm going to call the newspapers and Tv people too. I would really like it if some of the Fraser crew and anyone else who wants to would come with me wearing Spirit stuff and with SOS signs. Anyone interested?

wooden said...

It's official: Now that Allen Mottram is on the Rox, they're going to win the 2008 Can-Am League Championship. No need to play the games, it's a done deal.

Just saving our favorite slobbering sycophant some time...

DaveCo said...

Dear Wooden,
You have offically made my side hurt.

Sincerly,
DaveCo

PS: Those game tapes should be done monday or so for ya. E-mail us back the info and we'll do likewise. =]