It's been a little while since I've posted, and that's because I recently completed a 400+ mile move that took me from south central Pennsylvania to the Bay State's North Shore.
In the process, I've discovered that the meaning of my Red Sox hat has changed. Again.
When I bought the hat in college a few years ago, I bought it because of the ubiquity of Red Sox hats in Massachusetts. I sometimes woke up in places other than my dorm room, and would have to trek back across public venues while my hair stuck up lop-sided on my head.
I wanted something to hide my bed-head on the sometimes-mile long walk back from one friend's place or another, and so many people had Red Sox hats that you almost didn't notice them.
This is not to say that I wasn't a Sox fan. I was, and have been since the first time my father took a seven-year-old me to a rainy game at Fenway Park - but I never really liked wearing hats. I liked combing (and at one point spiking) my hair. Hats get in the way of that.
But when I moved to Pennsylvania, my navy cap with the red and white B on the front became a badge of honor. I rooted for the storied team that boasted such heroes as Ted Williams and Curt Schilling. I rooted for the baseball team that hails from the city with more educational institutions than any other place in America, and the country's oldest operating subway line. A city with a rich history, pegged firmly to the birth of the country.
I wore it as a mark of home and an object of comfort.
Now I'm back.
I work in Cambridge. I take the green line to work, and pass the nation's oldest college daily.
But I still wear my hat. it doesn't feel like an object of anonymous ubiquity any longer. Now it feels like solidarity, not just to Red Sox nation, but to the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts and the region of New England.