Part of sports teams is the trading that goes on. It has both saved and devastated teams throughout the history of sport. And while I understand, I have trouble when a player I love is traded.
Thinking about it now, I’m not sure if my fear of trading is why I shy away from naming a favorite player. Ever since Damon (who wasn’t my favorite player, but I enjoyed him nonetheless) went to the darkside and lost all individuality in doing so and Nomar was traded (which I understood as a business move, but couldn’t wrap my mind around the Red Sox without him on their roster for a while and yes, winning the World Series helped me get over that in a hurry), I cannot tell you who is my favorite player for the Red Sox. The last shirt I bought was a Renteria shirt which I quickly realized was a horrible investment and thankfully, I didn’t go for the replica jersey, as my brother did. His rationalizing after the trade? Someone else will pick the number and he can wear it again.
He was lucky. My younger brother had the unfortunate destiny to fall madly in love with Mike “The Gator” Greenwell, left fielder for the Red Sox from ’85 – ’96. While a dependable player, he was never a super star outside of my brother’s head, and in Greenwell’s defense, it was hard to follow in the shoes of the Splended Splinter, Yaz and Jim Rice (congrats on making the hall of fame). Greenwell played out his entire career for the Red Sox, I don’t know how common that is for someone to play their entire career with one team … but for years my older brother and father had a blast trying to convince my younger brother that Greenwell had been traded to another team. Some mornings, my younger brother would come to breakfast only to find a section of the NYT cut out and my older brother claiming there was an article about Greenwell getting traded to the Yankees that he had needed to cut out for some reason. It was easy fodder. And I wonder how much this stress effected my younger brother. Loving a player so much, yet knowing at any time they could be traded and that they had no, or at best limited, loyalty to their team.
Now, I love the teams and admire the players. But I can’t bother getting attached to them. It’s too hard.
So, one would think I would apply this to the other teams I follow. Not so. And oh, what a rookie move.
Aaron Ward. I have no idea how you became my favorite player. You’re not flashy, you’re not the high goal scorer for the Bruins, you didn’t kill it in PIMs, in fact, it’s almost like you did everything you could to not stand out. You came across as intelligent enough, dependable as a defender, and man, you threw your body into it. You respect the sport. And my son and I grew to adore you. His Bruins jerseys all had 44 on the back, we knew where you were at all times both on the ice and the bench. We felt for your hurt wrist in the playoffs and yelled at the other teams for slashing you when it was hurt. We celebrated you at all times. We went to great lengths, stretched one might say, to point out how you were involved in all successful plays on the ice.
But you were traded on Friday back to the Hurricanes in a “salary dump”.
And at 30, I have to learn the don’t get attached lesson all over again.