Josh Beckett and his wife pose with some damn brave kids at Beckett Bowl 2011. (Photo - D.Hixon)
I'm standing in Kenmore Station, slightly buzzed, awed, and thoroughly thankful - reflecting hard on the night so I don't lose the image of the surreal. This wasn't the first time the curtains have been pulled back for me, I've been allowed to see Oz play in the past, however - tonight seemed different. I felt forever the impostor, and consistently awaited the moment when a firm hand would grip my shoulder and exclaim, "Excuse me Sir..." It's not every night that I'm rubbing shoulders and hanging out with Red Sox players. It's a feeling that rides a lot of parallels with buying a scalped ticket, until you get through the gates - you're not sure if you'll get in, and even then - you wonder if your fraud will be found out.
There was no fraud on this balmy Monday night though - just good fortune, hard work, and an eventual dividend - all for a great cause. What makes the Josh Beckett Bowl so special is that it takes place in the throes of the baseball season. It's not on some exclusive Country Club or in a far away exotic locale. The event's quite literally in the shadows of Fenway Park, in the middle of a Pennant Race, while so much is still at stake. Yet the Red Sox players and other Boston level celebrities take the time to have some fun, show their face, and raise money for kids in situations reserved only for bad dreams.
Josh Beckett helps a child from the hospital out, and then he nearly throws a strike (as you can tell by my screaming). For the next few minutes it was all Josh could talk about - he was so proud of the kid, very cool moment. (SawxBlog VIdeo -D.Hixon)
This is a foul that my fandom diverted me from briefly as I drank beer and gawked in awe at the privilege flanked all around me. Event's such as the Beckett Bowl are brilliant in design. The well known and wealthy get to enjoy an everyday man's game as they bask in their fame and luck - but as they do, the attention and money is given to a cause you'd have to be psychotic to deny - and seeing those children on the red carpet - beaming brave and smiling large, weakened my heart with prideful joy, as I now gaped in awe at them and the power of the human spirit. These strong kids make being embarrassed around professional athletes seem asinine, as they assist in helping you realize that life is not guaranteed, nor is your health - and while it all may be fleeting - these fearless children show you nothing should be forsaken.
The kids at Boston Children's Hospital are the ones who we should be looking up to, they have centuries more wisdom and strength than any of us - rich, poor, famous, or normal. Real hero's fight with arduous optimism and smiles on their faces, and tonight, as I approach Central Square on the subway, I smile as well - with hope in my heart.
If you couldn't attent this year, I highly suggest to next year - I couldn't think of a better cause or better time.