20 May 2005

Why Not Me?

Time for a new column from Erin. Here it is. It shall be called...


Before Don, I hadn't had a crush in a while. I had almost become a complete stranger to the pounding heart, that feeling of butterflies, the uncontrollable need to think about my beloved for hours, days, weeks on end. Not since college had I had that instant rush of adrenaline, nerves, blood every time my crush walked in the room.

I no longer had the desire to make myself seem cooler, prettier, smarter than I was. Call it self-acceptance, the comfort zone, a side-effect of a four-year relationship, whatever you want. I'm not claiming that my heart doesn't sing every time Tim steps into the room and rips a fart that lasts for six Mississippis, or that I don't feel a sudden glow whenever I ask him to snuggle and he replies, "Back off, Papa's watchin' the game." I know my life is good. It's just--I missed that rush. I missed that rush, until Don.

As all Red Sox fans know, the majority of love for the commentator is spent on Jerry Remy. I too love Remy. I'm a huge fan of Wally and his Adirondack chair. But the thing I love most about Jerry is his broadcasting partner--that big, glistening body called Don Orsillo.

When I first saw Don perched in the NESN booth, something in me shook. My knees knocked. My lips quivered. I was filled with a sense of exciting nausea. The spark that had previously been extinguished was suddenly ignited into a raging wild fire. I stared at the TV, taking in my Adonis, piece by piece. His deep sports-caster voice, his gleaming white teeth, his perfectly combed hair, his plastic-looking Ken doll face. All of it made me want to be his Barbie.

I decided to try to get closer to Don while in Boston for my first Red Sox game of the season. I would go on a tour and see Don's habitat, drink in his environs, and then that night at the game, I would really crank up the juice and show Don what kind of a lady he had been missing.

While on the Fenway Park tour, I crept slowly down the media hall, peeking my head in all the other windows, pretending I cared, feigning interest--until I finally came to Don's station. I stood there, lingered awkwardly. I could feel his presence, and it felt good. I touched the window pane. "Don," I whispered. I half-expected him to appear out of thin air and ask me to be his mistress. I waited a moment longer, and when he didn't show, I slowly turned away.

I ignored the approaching sound of footsteps on the linoleum behind me, figuring they were just the steps of a fellow tour member waiting to catch a glimpse of the NESN booth. "Erin," Tim grabbed my arm and spun me around a half-second later. "That was Don Orsillo! You just missed Don Orsillo! He was right behind you!" And there I was, left all alone, standing in the shadows of love. "At least I have my sign," I thought.

The night before the game, I had stayed up until two in the morning, creating a sign that would not only tell Don how much I loved him, but would make my love known to the entire Red Sox Nation. Earlier that week, I turned to the Broseph in the same fashion that Christian de Neuvillette turned to Cyrano de Bergerac. I needed help constructing the most delicate, the most poignant, the most pure of love letters. But, I did not know how to state my feelings, as not only my heart, but my head, was in a complete tizzy. In his kind, infinite wisdom, the Broseph suggested these words:

I had toiled with Magic Markers and poster board until the wee hours of the morning, yielding fruition to my sign, the most perfect sign in all the land. And now I would get on TV, Don would see my sign and the two of us would be united for all eternity (and maybe I'd get to meet Eric Frede too).

Tim and I hiked up to our Green Monster seats. I watched batting practice for a couple minutes, then shifted my eyes to the booth above home plate, the one with the blue backdrop, the one that held my Don. I squinted hard, but could not make out the shape of my crush. I grabbed my bag and took out the extra-strength tape I had brought. I carefully began to stick my sign to the wall behind me, turning towards the booth every few seconds, hoping I'd caught Don's eye--those gorgeous bedroom eyes.

With my sign firmly plastered to the wall, the game began. I was careful to sit straight in my chair, and far enough to one side so as not to block my sign. I placed my hand under my chin and tilted my head at a 15 degree angle, so as to show off my good side. I wanted to make sure that I looked my best throughout the entire game, because I wasn't sure exactly when the cameras would zoom in on me. When something good happened, I smiled and batted my eyelashes, instead of screaming for joy and throwing my hands in the air, as I'd normally do. I was on my game.

And then it got cold.

The wind got whipping pretty good up on the Monster that night. I was forced to cover up my fitted World Series Champions t-shirt with a bulky sweatshirt. Ten minutes later, I was forced to put the hood up. As the temperature dropped, I had to tie the hood under my chin, tightly wrapping my head in sweat cloth, leaving just a small hole for my face to stick through. Not the impression I wanted to make.

The game was at the bottom of the 9th now, and while I had basically frozen for the last six innings, I had managed to keep up my posture and my head tilt. Millar stepped up to the plate, hit a walk-off homerun, and the game was over. We won! While Tim went into ecstatic fits, I gave a demure smile and clapped my hands in a very ladylike manner. I hoped Don was appreciating this. Before we left our seats, I decided to leave my poster on the wall, so that a groundskeeper would find it and give it to Don and he could treasure it for years to come.

As we exited the park, I yelled "Call the Broseph, call the Broseph!" Tim quickly dialed the number. I could hardly catch my breath. "Was Erin on TV," he asked, smiling. Even Tim was happy for me, despite the fact that I'd soon be leaving him to spend the rest of my life as Mrs. Orsillo. He gripped the phone and his face immediately dulled, the way your mom's does right before she tells you your dog had to be put down. "What," I asked. "What? Just tell me!" "You weren't on TV, Erin. I'm so sorry."

My heart broke that day. Sure, I'd felt the sting of a love gone wrong before, but it didn't make it any easier. It took a while before I could bring myself to get out of bed in the morning. With each NESN broadcast I saw, my spirit sunk a little lower. Prior to that first game, I was sure that a love so strong would force the stars to align so that everything would go off without a hitch. I loved Don; therefore, the cameraman would put me and my sign on TV, Don would see me, be instantly smitten, we'd run off to a tropical island and drink mojitos out of each other's belly buttons all day, end of story.

But, in the end, my crush had crushed me. And as I end this post, I'll just say these last words: Baby, if you're out there reading this right now, I love you, Donny O. I love you.

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