Monday, 6 October 2008

Boston Bite 1 - Sports

Hey there, we're back from Boston and there is much to tell you! In our 10 days away we covered a lot of ground around New England and experienced many adventures. Today I'm going to focus on the sports side of things.

1. Hawthorn's magnificent grand final victory!

"We're a happy team at Hawthorn, we're the mighty fighting Hawks! We love our club and we play to win, riding the bumps with a grin, at Hawthorn!"
YES YES YES!!! Hawthorn won their first grand final for 17 years and we are very happy here! When I found out we were heading to Boston I quickly researched where to see the game. Luckily for me the Boston Demons football club was hosting an afternoon viewing of the game, giving strict instructions that NO-ONE was to give away the result (we were watching it 12 hours delayed). I was a bit nervous about attending - what if Hawthorn lost? I would miss out on spending a lovely afternoon in the Aquarium with Andrew and Lucy. But the thought of just finding out the result by text message was disappointing so I headed off to Tommy Doyle's Irish pub in Harvard Square to sweat it out. I got there half way through the first quarter to find standing room only that was 6 people deep! There must have been 150 people there! Given I was dressed in Hawthorn gear the organisers told me just to squeeze through the crowd and find a spot on the floor. I managed to do this and even scored a seat by half time. It was such good fun and by three quarter time with EVERYONE cheering Hawthorn I realised that they must have won the game as there were only 2 Geelong supporters in attendance. Not that this realisation made me any less anxious in the last 10 minutes! It was awesome to meet some Australians and to realise that conversations can be easy with no hidden agendas, no cultural barriers, and no fear of offense. I met a couple from Perth visiting their son at MIT, Nathan from Melbourne doing an EMBA at Harvard and sat next one of the founders of the Boston club who agreed with me that the umpiring was terrible! There were lots of diversions to raise money for the club like raffles, handball comps and the like but it was awesome to just be there, not know the result and just enjoy each minute of the game.

2. Attending the last Red Sox baseball game of the season at Fenway park

In some ways attending this game gave me that match day feeling that I was missing in Melbourne. We all got into Red Sox gear and joined the home town crowd in cheering on the team. There is an excitement in the air in walking into the ground with expectations for a win, a comradery with fellow supporters and an atmosphere of hope. We clapped and cheered along with everyone and booed the Yankees and although the Red Sox lost this particular game they were still heading into the playoffs. At the game the crowd was kept entertained with popular songs, to which they sang along, like Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' which is obviously a favourite and even had special crowd participation. Our seats were good ones in the bleachers, just behind the NYY bullpen where the pitchers warm up. Lucy got a little bored by the end and with the rain coming down we headed off during the 9th innings. Food as expected was extremely expensive ($4.75 for a hot dog) and apparently for the 23,000 seats available they sell 40,000 beers a game at $7 each!

3. Bike riding through Boston

We went on a fairly strenuous 2 and a half hour bike ride around Boston (not so strenuous for Lucy who as you can see fell asleep in the back - it was amazing as it was raining and foggy but she was able to sleep for about an hour). We started in the suburb on Brookline before heading to Fenway Park (above), through the Back Bay Fens and Boston Common, downtown to the Aquarium and the green space created by the Big Dig, through the North End and past the North Church where Paul Revere hung the lanterns, past the Museum of Science and along the Charles River Reservation.

4. Visting the America's Cup Musuem

Our pit stop in Rhode Island was the town of Bristol, home of the America's Cup museum and Herreshoff Maritime museum. Lucy and I are sitting outside looking at 'America 3' which was sailed by an all-female crew. We explored the museum noting with amusement the large display about 'winning back the cup in 1987' but not so much about Australia winning the cup in 83 (the first time in history it had been won by a non-American crew) There was a boxing kangaroo flag signed by John Bertrand and there were some Aussie Hall of Fame inductees (JB, Alan Bond and Ben Lexcen). Lucy enjoyed boarding some of the boats in the Maritime museum and sitting back in the Captain's chair giving orders.

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