Let me tell you a story.
A long time ago, or at least it feels like one, there was a glittering city on a hill. It wasn’t the largest city in its kingdom, nor home to the most people, nor was it the seat of its country’s government or finance. It had fierce rivalries with other cities, and its people’s tendencies were the subject of mockery and ridicule.
But this city was special, because its history was one of pride and determination. It had produced legends in every field, and some of the greatest men its country and the world had ever known.
This city was special because its people were proud.
This city was special because its people were so, so brave. They refused to be bent, and refused to be broken. They always had.
And then, at a festival celebrating the human condition, an occasion of happiness, a group of cowards tried to strike at the heart of this city. They laid a trap, attacking people at their most joyful and what they thought was their most vulnerable. And they thought they succeeded, as the city buckled to its knees.
The cowards were rooted out, and taken away. But the city struggled to find its feet, and its people wondered where they could find their strength again.
Then a fellowship of men took up their weapons and tugged on their helmets and called their city to mount their shoulders as they rode into war. They were led by a knight who had been part of the fabric of the city for a long time, but whose sword had rusted and whose strength had come into question.
But the city stayed loyal to him, and he stood up and found himself again. He led that fellowship into war, and his sword swung and his will flamed and his strength returned as he surpassed anything he had ever done before. His fellowship stood tall behind him, as each man began growing into his role, imbued with his own belief and that of his fellows. And the city dared to hope.
And they won. And they won. And they kept winning, dedicating their triumph to their city every time they surpassed another city’s champions.
And then the knight led them to the final stage. They met a group of men who had themselves been strong, who themselves wanted it badly. And the knight faltered, but found what he needed: the belief of his city.
The fellowship stood tall, and they triumphed. They gave their aching city something to celebrate, a moment of pure joy for which it had been searching since the senseless act of terror months earlier when the fellowship had still been finding itself. Glory returned to the city on the hill.
And that knight gained acclaim as a champion of his city, and the team gained acclaim as a group of men who had let their city’s identity become their own.
And this is where I say “and they all lived happily ever after,” but I’m not going to, because this isn’t a story. This is real.
That knight’s name is David Ortiz. And when he won the World Series MVP Award in Fenway Park, he took the microphone and yelled the same thing he had during the Red Sox’s first game after the Marathon bombings.
“This is our city.”
That fellowship’s name is the Red Sox. This city’s name is Boston.
And when the Red Sox won the championship, fans ran from Fenway Park to Boylston Street where the Marathon had finished in April. Where Boston was sent reeling. The line was still on the ground, still marked “finish.”
And they knelt and kissed it.
And this World Series victory will echo in the annals of Boston’s history as proof that sometimes, when the wind is fair and warriors give everything for one another and a whole city believes with every ounce of its soul, fairy tales can come to life.
When a whole city gives its heart, magic comes to life.