By Lisa Smoluk
There’s nothing better than packing into a car with a group of friends and heading to a baseball game on a warm summer night. Wearing our team’s hats and jerseys, munching on popcorn, and chanting along with the crowd, the feeling is indescribable— it’s magical even. Baseball is, after all, America’s favorite pastime.
What I love most about baseball is the sense of loyalty I feel towards my team. As a born and raised New Englander, I have always and will always love the Red Sox. Kind of funny actually, but my brother is, for whatever reason, a Yankees fan. Growing up, this made things intense, especially when it came time for the Yankees to play the Sox. The excitement, intensity, anticipation, and most of all, the sense of competition, I felt watching these games with him was truly one of a kind. It has actually been a way for us to bond growing up. He’s two years younger than me, and aside from baseball, is interested in completely different things. Baseball has been one of a few of our shared interests over the years, and I’m thankful that passionately watching our teams play against one another has made our relationship closer.
This past summer, as a farewell for myself as I left for my second year of college, I went to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway. This game, I kid you not, was by far my favorite memory of the summer. It was the kind of game that kept you on the edge of your seat— it really could have gone either way. The Yankees pulled ahead later in the game, only for the Red Sox to score 3 runs in the 9th and then another in extra innings to come away with the win. I remember yelling with excitement as Tony Renda slid across home plate. I looked towards my brother, and though he was silent and a bit sad, he couldn’t hide the excitement of having watched what was objectively a great game. It doesn’t matter whether the Red Sox are winning by a landslide or tied up with the other team, it’s impossible to not feel the energy and excitement of the crowd at these games. It’s so tangible that even those who know nothing about baseball still find themselves cheering and chanting.
Coming to college all the way in Chicago, I was sad to no longer have my community of Red Sox fans to watch games with or my brother to root against. My friends would text me sometimes about the crazy comebacks or ridiculous calls, but that didn’t even come close to replacing the feeling of being together during a game. There was no build up, no back and forth banter, just an afterthought once the game had finished. For the first time in my life, I felt my interest in watching the Sox decreasing.
I joined the Besst team because each of its members understands the importance of that passion. Besst will allow me to banter and compete with my brother, even when he’s thousands of miles away. It will allow me and my friends to stay so closely connected through the competition and team that we love. Besst encapsulates the exhilarating feeling that comes from being so deeply engaged with the game. Although it can never replace the feeling of being in Boston at a game, Besst is the first company that really addresses and seeks to replicate this part of the experience. And through the supporters feature, my friends will even be able to take my side and bet against my brother as well.
At Besst, we encourage the type of competition that creates community and brings people closer together. We do so by leveraging pride and social connections. Competition has played such a positive role in my social life, and created countless memories, including that Red Sox-Yankees game this past summer. Honestly, I’ve found that a little bit of competition is necessary for people to have a stake in the game so to speak.
Watching Red Sox games is something that has, and will continue to, keep me connected to my friends back home. There’s something about it, the feeling of watching the Red Sox win or watching my predictions for the game become reality, that I cannot seem to find anywhere else.