It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life. There I was, late October of 2004, 21 years old, sitting in a computer chair, hours before my beloved Boston Red Sox would ultimately win their first World Series in 86 long years. Just looking for a little pregame reading material, I stumble across the most emotional, heart-wrenching piece of writing I've ever encountered.
The media coverage on the internet was pretty heavy, even back then, and it seemed like everyone had an angle or a story on what was about to be the biggest victory in Boston sports history. Obviously, the details have sort of faded away into the reaches of my memory as time goes on,and I can't quite remember just exactly how I came upon the site, but I'll never forget the name of the website: The Sons of Sam Horn.
Basically, the SoSH website is a giant message board filled with the most fervent, loyal, and loving Red Sox fans you could ever imagine. Everything from who the team should sign, what the lineup should be, and ultimately inning-by-inning accounts of the game, could be found being discussed within the site's pages.
However, what I found, was different. Someone, for some reason, started a thread imploring the Red Sox to go on and win the Series for a variety of reasons. Things like, "win it for my grandpa who took me to my first Sox game, and died without ever seeing them win a Series", or "win it for Johnny Pesky".
Soon, the thread itself went viral (or whatever you could consider "viral" back in 2004), and fan after fan, began to post their own version, and own spin, on who they wanted the Sox to "Win It For". That thread has since been inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and is considered an absolute treasure to Red Sox fans all over the globe.
Some of the stories, memories, and pictures found within that thread tore me to pieces. The hurt, the pain, the longing for lost loved ones, truly tugged at my heartstrings and with every page you could truly begin to understand just how much hurt there was in "Red Sox Nation" after 86 years of heartbreak.
The thread continued to be updated all the way through the final out that night, and after celebrating with my family after the game, I went back to the thread and continued reading. Two hours later, I went to bed, said a prayer, and cried. It's funny how sports can mean so much, to so many.
This brings me to present day, in the midst of one of the most trying times of my life. A family going through financial hardship, a father fighting cancer, and of course, the everyday struggles that come with trying to make music your career.
But, there's the Revs. MY Revs. I've grown accustomed to saying MY Revs because it actually feels like that. Unlike the Boston Red Sox and their over-a-century history, I've seen the New England Revolution born, and raised, right in front of my own eyes from the very beginning. I've laughed, cried, yelled, sang, travelled, and even fought, in the name of my beloved Revolution.
So, as the memories of scrolling through all of those "Win It For" posts come roaring back as I approach yet another New England team one game away from a championship, I think about how a Revs championship would change things. What it would mean. Not just to me, but to the thousands of others that have taken this journey with me.
And so, in honor of the most emotional piece of writing I've read in my lifetime, here goes nothing:
Win this one for all of those folks that have been there since day one. The 96ers. We've withstood countless heartbreaks, every type of weather, thousands of travel miles, anonymity among Boston sports media, a less-than-ideal stadium situation, stadium security fiascoes, and God knows many other hardships on the road to our first MLS Cup title.
Win this one for all the kids in New England, myself included, that were made fun of, called racial and homophobic slurs, and mocked, when they chose soccer over football.
Win this one for Taylor. And Shalrie. And Ralston. And Heaps. And all of those greats of years gone by that DESERVE to see the Revs lift a Cup.
Win this one for some of the veteran Revs players that have been here through the lowest lows, and now, hopefully, the highest of highs. Guys like Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, and Chris Tierney.
Win this one so SOCCER can FINALLY earn a little credit, and maybe even be welcomed with a seat at the table of Boston sports fandom.
Win this one for the little boy or girl with a Diego Fagundez poster on their wall, dreaming of playing in the same game one day. Give our kids a reason to dream.
Win this one for all those posts, tweets, and blogs from people who've treated the Revs like second-class citizens for some time.
Win this one for the figureheads of the Revs supporters' groups. People like Brendan Schimmel, and Monty Rodriguez, and Fran Harrington. I like to call myself a die-hard, but people like them are in another stratosphere. They've earned the right to be a champion.
Win this one for every girlfriend, or date, I've subjected to my ridiculous Revs fandom, especially the wonderful woman I am with now. I know it's never easy dealing with me, especially after losses.
Win this one for Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner.
Win this one so we can hang a banner in our own soccer specific stadium one day.
Win this one for my Mom, who let me drive to a game on a learner's permit, because the Revs were playing in a doubleheader with the USMNT.
Win this one for everyone that drove back from Washington D.C. like I did after Houston broke our hearts. Again.
Win this one so I can be like my older family members and tell my kids and grandkids stories about the time I finally saw the Revs win the Cup.
Lastly, win this one for my Dad, who knows absolutely nothing about soccer or the Revs, except that I love it so very much. Barely a month into chemotherapy, he's battled complications in the hospital all week. What was supposed to be "Cup Week" for me, turned into one of the most trying times of my life, seeing my Pops the way I did. However, finally discharged and settled in at home, he'll be right there with me watching the game on Sunday, not because he loves the Revs or the game of soccer, but because maybe, just maybe, we can celebrate another championship together, just like we did on that fateful night in 2004.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and prayers in the comments below!