3:33 Sports Short #18 // Green Monster by Marissa Landrigan

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Today's duo of 3:33 Sports Shorts share a geographical affinity… both relate to Boston, Massachusetts, one of the truly great American sports cities. Marissa Landrigan's piece below gives us a first person account of just what it's like to be in Boston's Fenway Park. Click here for Nick Ripatrazone's piece about Boston Celtics Sixth Man John Havlicek.

The only time I’ve ever come close to getting punched in the face was at Fenway Park. I was somewhere around twelve or thirteen, on one of my family’s regular summer Saturday outings to see the Sox play. The air was heavy, thick with humidity, and smelled of hot dogs. My father’s clear plastic cup of beer nearly melting in his hand, my ears buzzing with the electric hum of the crowd’s cheers, the drumbeat of stadium anthems a constant drone.

I don’t remember the play, but one of the umpires made a call against the Red Sox and the crowd turned on him, booing and shouting curses, a mob’s mutual anger stemming from singular devotion to the team. I had just started working that summer or the last as a referee in the youth soccer league, and felt a thoroughly unpopular affinity towards officials, so as the crowd died down, I shouted something along the lines of don’t feel bad about yourself, ump, that was a good call.

I felt a hand on my shoulder spinning me around. Suddenly, I was facing a twenty-something guy, Sox cap on, beer in hand, as he bent over at the waist to bring his face close to mine, shout-slurring the fuck you talkin’ about? Luckily, my father interfered, less-than-gently removing the man’s hand from my shoulder and bringing his own face equally close, hissing she’s thirteen years old jackass. My father put his big arm around me, drawing me into his side and bending down to kiss the top of my head. It’s ok, sweetie, he whispered, just ignore him. And maybe don’t cheer for the umps.

Marissa Landrigan's work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Rumpus, Guernica, Orion, Salon, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.