One Click Away
Trying to land Red Sox tickets online is like,well, being a fan: agonizing.
My husband came home one recent Friday night with a glow in his eye. "Half of New England is without power. It's our chance." It isn't like him to delight in the misfortune of others. In fact, he's a wonderful man. But he was on a quest to buy Red Sox tickets the next morning. They were available online starting at 10, and he was predicting the ice storm would winnow the field of competitors.
We wanted eight bleacher seats to give as Christmas gifts to the family, including my 17-year-old daughter, who has never been to Fenway. I know that sounds like sacrilege. How could a child grow up near Boston without ever going to a home game? Well, it could be that her mother is stymied by the whole ticket-getting procedure. I'm a little phobic of the come-on ads in newspapers. These people can't be legit. And who can afford tickets so far above face value? Getting to Fenway, it seemed to me, would take an act of God.
But Sean, my husband, had another plan. He awoke early that Saturday morning, set up two laptops in the kitchen, and put me in charge of the office computer down the hall. "OK, we're in the waiting room. The screens refresh every 30 seconds and will tell us when we can buy." I stared at the screen, afraid to move and miss an opportunity as they randomly chose the next buyer.
I pictured Larry Lucchino in a room somewhere. "OK, piiiiick THAT one," he would say, pointing. I waited, begging Larry to swing his golden light of acceptance on me. I drank my coffee, staring as the page counted down from 30 seconds to 1 second and reset at 30. I read the Saturday newspaper in 30-second bursts. Sean got on the phone with his friend Peter, another Sox junkie.
"Peter can't even get on the site," Sean reported gleefully. If people were getting blocked, and we were in the virtual waiting room, then that meant a better chance for us, right? An hour passed.
"I shouldn't have had all that coffee. Now I have to pee," I said.
"Go ahead, honey. I can see your screen from here." I ran to the bathroom and even took a moment to wash my hands. Back in the office, the counter said 15 seconds. I hadn't missed it!
A second hour passed. Was Larry taking a break back there? Maybe he had too much coffee, too?
My backside began to hurt, and I got more daring about leaving my screen. I hadn't had time for breakfast. It was now lunchtime. What could I grab quickly? Cold pizza! I ran to the fridge, snagged a piece, sliding in my stocking feet down the hardwood floor. Ha! Twelve seconds had passed. I could work in the pits at Indy. But I forgot the napkin.
"I'm getting a little stir-crazy in here," I reported to Sean after two and a half hours.
"Let's give it until 1 o'clock. If nothing happens, we'll close it down," he said.
Close it down? Hours wasted with nothing to show for it? I couldn't believe my beloved team would take hours of my precious Saturday without some reward. Don't the Red Sox need me? I booed when Johnny Damon became a traitor, not only to Boston, but to his beautiful, long hair. I cheered when Dustin Pedroia got his multimillion-dollar deal. I sighed with resignation when Mark Teixeira went to the Yankees. I still can't talk about Manny yet. But there's one thing I know: I'm a fan!
Now, I know, saying you're a Sox fan in New England is not exactly original. It's like saying the devil likes a warm climate. But I've proved my loyalty over the years -- check that, decades -- and this was one more sacrifice. It had to pay off sometime.
Sean and I waited four hours, lingering in that virtual purgatory, while I pictured Larry laughing at us. We finally had to walk away empty-handed, and I was angry. It's that hard to get bleacher seats? C'mon.
But Sean showed that he is made of stronger stuff. He gave me a hug, gently rubbed my back, and whispered the mantra of the age-old Sox fan:
"We'll get 'em next year."
Angela King, a freelance writer in Marstons Mills and adjunct professor at Suffolk University, would gladly field Sox ticket offers from Larry Lucchino. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.