Fever Pitch

I know that there is probably a ton of news that I should be commenting on this morning – but I’m going to be honest and say that at this moment, there is far too much rumor, not enough in the way of fact – and it’s all completely overwhelming to me for processing.  With that in mind, I’m going off on a completely different tangent today.

Has anyone out there ever seen the movie “Fever Pitch”?  Alright…probably all of you at this point.  I’m very late to the party on this one, but if you saw my kids and saw my daily schedule, you would understand.  This weekend, I had the opportunity to sit and watch the movie with my friends, who were visiting from out of town.  I had heard about this movie, and had been told that there were quite the number of parallels between the movie and my real life as a Duranie.  I have to admit I was skeptical, purely because I couldn’t imagine someone being THAT obsessed about a baseball team.  Never mind MY real life…

It became pretty clear within the first few seconds of the movie that I’d be able to identify with the main character (Jimmy Fallon).  He plays a single guy named Ben who is a school teacher, but is also a Red Sox fan.  “Fan” is probably putting it very mildly.  He’s completely obsessed, from the sheets on his bed down to the shower curtain in his bathroom and the “artwork” on his walls.   (at this point I would like to make it clear that I do NOT have Duran Duran on every wall in my house.  Only in my closet.   Hmm.  What is that really saying about me?  Another subject for yet another blog, methinks.)  Much of the movie is about how Jimmy’s character deals with his life as a Red Sox fan and how he can make that fit into his life as someone’s partner; or perhaps it’s the other way around – how his partner (Drew Barrymore) is able to deal with Ben’s life as a Red Sox fan.

Before I go headfirst into how this art imitates my life, my very favorite part of the entire movie is when Ben receives his season tickets for the year.  He’d been a season ticket holder since he was a child, and yet each year when that package arrives, he acts as though it is Christmas morning.  He races down to the UPS van, scribbles his signature on the electronic pad to sign for it, then races back up to his apartment.  He waits until his friends (all of which are fellow Red Sox fans) to get to his apartment, then he opens the package.  They all grab sheets of the tickets, admire them, and then smell them – commenting on the smell of the cardboard and ink.  This scene, fellow readers – I am very familiar with!  I know what it feels like to anticipate tickets arriving in the mail.  I know how anxious I am to open the package, and yet I want to wait to experience the moment with the very people who get me best, and I know exactly what the smell of ink on cardboard is like, and how crisp the thin cardboard feels in my hand, the bumps of the untorn perforations of the ticket stub on my fingertips, and the sharpness of the corners.  It was a scene that any fan of just about any thing should be able to recognize themselves in.

The trouble within the movie is that not everything is perfect when you are an obsessed fan.  It  is very difficult to draw the line between the fandom and normal every day life, even more so when you are involved in a relationship with someone who is not quite as big of a fan, or if you have a family.  Sacrifices must be made, and often times – it is the fandom that is sacrificed.   At one point in the movie, Ben is faced with choosing between the love of his girlfriend or the love of his team, and another character (oddly enough, it’s a kid) says to him “I know you love the Sox, but do they love you back?”

I know that question, and I know it well.  There’s an argument to be made on both sides.  To begin with, of course the Sox don’t LOVE anyone back, per se.  They are a team.  Baseball is a sport – it’s not a personal relationship; in the same way that Duran Duran are a music group and our “relationship” with them truly ends at the concert stage or CD player.  I feel 100% confident than no one in the group knows my name, and they absolutely could not pick me out of the crowd at a concert, much less love me in the way that my kids or my husband know me and love me.  The best I can hope for is a wink and a smile when I see them at a show, and that’s fine.  (to be honest, I’d be far more concerned if they DID know my name…)  That said, I’m not sure that love is really the right question to ask.  The Sox have provided the right backdrop or background for relationships to be made in the very same way that we Duran fans have our fan community.  In fact, the season ticket holders have held their same seats for so long, they’ve become a family.  When Ben comes to the opening game each year, it’s like a family reunion.  He knows not only the history of the team, but also the history behind the other fans seated around him.  He’s seen people grow up, grow old and pass on; just as those of us in Duranland have done.  Yes, we have our differences.  No, we’re not friends with every single other Duranie, but we’re still a family.  Ultimately, I believe that my fandom is part of what makes me – Rhonda – myself.  If I took that away, if I stopped being a Duranie, or stopped following the band, I would honestly be changing who I really am.  I guess that’s what happens when you follow a band as closely as I have, or as you readers have, for almost 30 years now.  Being a Duranie is a part of my personality, and I have to embrace that, or I lose my own identity.   Of course, my husband sees it far differently I am sure.  I’ve been married now for almost 16 years, and I think that for my husband, he looks at my obsession with Duran Duran as being a choice.  I “choose” to read the message boards, I “choose” to go to concerts, etc. etc.  I can’t argue that it’s not a choice (that would sound more like an addiction, and while I know many feel as though it might be at this point – I’m going with the idea that it’s not for this blog!), but I see it as the same thing as choosing to quit a career, or getting divorced at this point.  Both of those things: changing careers, getting divorced – change you as a person.  They are life changing events.  Not being a Duranie would be life changing for me at this point, even if my husband thinks I’m crazy for saying so.  (love you dear!)   As much as my crazy Duranie behavior drives my husband crazy at times, my husband wouldn’t want me to change such a big part of what makes me the person he loves anymore than I would want that for him, just as the ending resolution of Fever Pitch.  We work with what we’ve got, and apparently most of the time, it works out rather well.

The weekend with my Duranie friends is now over – I dropped all 3 of them off at the airport this morning, with agreements to have a full conference call as soon as tour dates or other equally exciting information descends upon us.  I miss the laughter of my three “sisters from other mothers” in my house, but I can’t really be that sad, our next adventure is right around the corner!

-R

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