The "Pinch Me" Moments
Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Shifting all of his weight onto his front leg, the pitcher leans towards the catcher to focus on his next signal. After adjusting his cap and giving a quick nod, he retrieves to an upright position, winds up, and gives a powerful release of the ball.
The sound of the baseball meeting the leather mitt is followed by an explosive “STUU-RIIKE THREE” from the umpire. Both teams head to their respective dugouts to prepare for the bottom of the eighth inning while Neil Diamond's classic, “Sweet Caroline,” begins to fade in over the chatter of the crowd.
Oh Sweet Caroline. The Boston Red Sox classic that I knew all the words to before I could form real sentences.
In years past, my only experience with the song at a sporting event was singing my heart out in unison with other Boston fans while pumping my fist with pride at Fenway Park. However, I have discovered my new favorite way to sing (or in my case, shout) the words is by standing on top of the dugout in front of hundreds of baseball fans, encouraging them to sing and dance along with me.
Though this occurs in the middle of the eighth inning during every home game, it is one of those moments you never get over no matter how many times you do it.
I am going to label this a “pinch me” moment.
This particular pinch me moment is something I will talk about until I am cremated and placed in a fancy box that will sit on a shelf in my future child’s home. Singing Sweet Caroline with the fans always tugs at my heartstrings as a girl (originally) from Boston, who would have voluntarily shouted the lyrics from the rooftops. Even though eighty percent of the individuals in the crowd are complete strangers, most of which I will never see again in my lifetime, I am thankful I get to share that moment with people who love the Red Sox tradition just as much as I do.
In our front office we have a countdown that lists the number of games left in the season. While there is pride in knowing we have had a successful (almost) first half of the year, I grow a bit glum knowing that the board will eventually read zero.
Until then, I will hold onto the pinch me moments that consist of singing Sweet Caroline, having season ticket holders greet me by name, and sporting the Red Sox logo on an employee issued polo.
Because these good times never felt so good…so good…so good!