Red Sox Truck Day: ritual notes for the uninitiated

Every week I post a Word for the Weekend with comments on and links to the scriptures for the coming Sunday's liturgy.  Last fall I remember drawing attention to the approach of Advent and a new liturgical year, referencing the ordinals of the Sundays in Ordinary Time, leading to the 34th or last Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

If readers at the time detected some level of excitement and anticipation on my part, they were reading accurately!

What can I say?  The calendar of the church year is an important one by which I live.  The civil calendar and the "calendar" of the seasons in New England also chart my days, weeks and months - but the cycles of the liturgical year shape my ministry, activity, rest, prayer, diet and even my moods.

Of course, there are other calendars by which folks make their way through a year.  On the sports calendar, a very important season just came to an end with the Super Bowl - although for some the end came earlier as their team dropped out of the running to play in THE Game.

For others, a new season began yesterday.

Since I don't read the sports section of the paper every day, this is the first year I've been aware of a Boston ritual known as Truck Day on which the Red Sox equipment van leaves Fenway Park to deliver all manner of baseball paraphernalia to spring training camp in Fort Meyers. FL.

This rite includes a gathering of several hundred Red Sox faithful, at the doors of the Temple of the Diamond and around the Ark of the Bats and Balls:

A cantor leads the assembly in a Litany of Cheers:

And the 1500 mile pilgrimage to Fort Meyer begins:

Gotta tell you: this sort of thing mystifies me.  I've never been one whose affections or moods have been swayed by a team's record of wins and losses.  (The crashing sound you just heard was my Notre Dame diploma falling off the wall over my desk.) But Truck Day is a lesson for me in calendars and rituals and their meaning in peoples' lives - and the different lights by which our daily lives are guided, our paths charted and our spirits elevated or depressed.

Of course there are faithful religious people who are also faithful sports fans but I'm not one of them.  One calendar colors my life in shades of violet, rose, gold, white, green and red while the other is a palette ranging from beige to bland.

While my heart's not in Truck Day, it holds a place for those for whom this rite is a sign of spring.  On my calendar, I'm looking for Lent and its promise of new life.  For Sox fans, Opening Day 2011 is April 1 - on my planner, it's March 9: Ash Wednesday.

Whether one or both seasons augur spring for you: bring it on!

(Images: NESN)

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  1. Your posting on Red Sox Truck Day brought a smile to my face. How true that we mark certain days on our calendars to signify the beginning of spring.

    Here's to a fruitful Lent 2011 and a fantabulous season for the Boston Red Sox!

  2. oh, thank you for this post-

    I am a baseball fan (Red Sox, of course), not a football fan (sorry)

    this post brought a smile to my face and made an already hopeful day even more hopeful-

    I am one of those people for whom Truck Day, and Spring Training, and baseball, is a sign of spring-

    But, I am ALSO one of those people who is looking for Lent and its promise of new life, as you said.

    So I am looking forward to March 9th and also April 1st-

    Will you be going to a game this coming season?

  3. Haven't been to Fenway Park since 1968 and have no immediate plans to spoil that record. :-)

  4. well, I think it's time to go back (to Fenway Park)-
    (I wasn't born yet when you were there last)
    and I think it's also time to change that phrase, "spoil that record"...

    maybe you will get an opportunity to go to a game in 2011- you never know...


  5. I enjoy baseball and football occassionally.I am NOT one of those people for whom Truck Day, and Spring Training, and baseball, is a sign of spring-
    But I enjoyed your post and find that baseball has connected me with others in the promise of a better life. Last year I participated in the RUN TO HOME BASE, sponsored by Mass hospital and ReD Sox foundation. We raised over $2M for the veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI from OIF and OEF. The 10k road race ended at Fenway home base. And new friendships emerged, greater awareness of the invisible wound our troops suffer. ....So when May comes around again this year, I plan to fly to Boston for the RUN TO HOME BASE and continue on that journey of hope, new friendships, strenghtening of friendships.
    Where did you last see GOD?

  6. Notre Dame alumni and life long resident of NE. My oh my...we must convert you somehow...who knows, we may even be able to get you to enjoy sports on some level. I know it will never be a strong attachment, but I think there is hope for you yet! :-)

  7. You brought a giggle from my lips!



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