I've lived in Colorado for most of my life. From junior high through college, even when I had moved away from the Rocky Mountain state, my football team was the Denver Broncos, mostly because of this guy:
Elway retired in 1999 after winning back-to-back Super Bowls, and then they tore down Mile Hi Stadium and replaced it with another corporate no-personality stadium. The team was lackluster, the quarterbacks unremarkable, and
most of all
they'd become the home team. So I dropped them and added the Patriots to my roster of favorite teams -- the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins.
When I lived in North Dakota, I looked back at Colorado nostalgically, and the Broncos were part of that. I'd fetishize things like King Soopers brand milk, the mountains, and even the city of Greeley, where I went to high school. Greeley.
Root, Root, Root for the
“We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes.” -- Madeline L'Engle
Seeing someone in a store in a Red Sox shirt in Fort Collins, CO is something special. Something to share a "Go Sox!" as you pass by, or a fist pump, or a secret nod. My pharmacist and I have a running conversation because he wears a New York Yankees lanyard for his name tag and I have one for my keys. I don't think he'd ever notice a Rockies key chain, and he'd certainly never comment on it each month. It's our running gag, and a connection I otherwise would not have made.
Maybe that's the secret, then. I wear my love of Boston sports on my car, on my keys, with my hats, shirts, and sweatshirts, o my Facebook wall and on the walls of my cubicle at work. I live my fandom out loud, and I have lost count of the small talk, casual conversations, and even friendships broadcasting those loyalties has let me to. My rivalries are all friendly.
Home is Where...When people ask me where I'm from, I always say, "Boston originally," even though my time there was relatively short. My family is so Boston, and over the years I've fallen deeply in love with so much of the city.
My fetishized version of it, anyway.
I've long known that living in the Boston area again would immediately ruin it for me, much like having a Dunkin Donuts here in Fort Collins has taken the thrill out of going. It's not, as L'Engle wrote. a glimpse of home that vanishes, and is far less seductive for its staying power.