Newburyport Daily News
---- — Big Freddy had his face buried in his newspaper when I joined him, and I asked “What gives?”
“It’s not so much what gives as it’s who gives and what we take away from it that matters,” he said as he folded the paper and reached for his coffee.
“I take it you’ve been reading about the funerals for the Boston firefighters,” I said.
“That too,” Freddy said. “Who hasn’t? They walk into an inferno to do what they can, something goes haywire, life ends for both of them, and we’re reminded in the wrong way of what it means to be a firefighter.”
“Giving their all,” I said.
“Facing whatever and giving what they have to give to deal with it, which is not what I was thinking about.
“I was reading the sports section about the Red Sox, not the funerals,” Freddy said.
“There’s certainly no comparison,” I said.
“Well, maybe more than you’d be inclined to think,” Freddy said.
“They do whatever they can in both cases what they’re trained to do.
“I like what I see with the Sox, but I’m saddened along with everyone else for what happened to the firefighters.”
“The Sox winning two out of three from Baltimore?” I asked.
“Winning or losing it’s the heart of Boston I see,” Freddy said.
“The heart of Boston?” I asked.
“What about the other sports? What about the great universities, the hospitals, the arts?
“Besides, two years ago the Sox were in the pits.”
“And last year they climbed from the very bottom to the top,” Freddy said. “That was really something.
“Maybe that happened someplace else at some time or another, but I’m talking about the here and now.
“We needed a can do -- will do, and did -- especially after the bombing of our marathon,” Freddy said.
“I’m surprised that you see that as being representative of something beyond winning,” I said.
“When you’re down and out, and counting your losses, and you don’t only pick yourself up to start all over again, you go all the way to the top with a spirit that spreads itself the way the Sox spread it.” Freddy said.
“I’m surprised to hear you even talking about the Sox -- in fact, I don’t remember you ever talking about them,” I said.
“We have never had a baseball team do what the Sox did last season, and I don’t know of any baseball team anywhere having done that, but if one did, it didn’t do it following a major bombing of its home town,” Freddy said.
“I fail to see the link of the two events,” I said. “What I saw was the team management getting rid of the troublemakers, and the smarts to bring back their pitching coach as manager who not only stopped the losses, but won the World Series.”
“Pride in the face of adversity is a very special tonic that can nourish recovery for the worst of calamities, which the bombing was, “ Freddy said.
“Pride can be the cause of great falls also,” I said.
“When it’s blindsided, yes, but there’s no sign of that in sight for the Sox this year, so enjoy it while you can because when you look at just about everything else going on, blindsiding is a major concern.”
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and former executive editor of The Daily News.