Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thoughts on John Updike

RIP John Updike. While most may think of your collected prose and poetry, the volumes that make you a cornerstone of 20th century American fiction, I remember you more for "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," that masterful 1960 recounting of the Splendid Splinter's final Fenway game that mythologized a moment - a heroic home run, a departure of an icon, a momentary light in a decades-long night of baseball incompetence - by encapsulating the end of an era for the Red Sox. Before 2004, Red Sox fans were, in theory if not in reality, the hopeless masses in Fenway that dreary September day: scornful and cynical, yet all too ready, whether in the hunt for a trophy or down in the lowest depths of baseball mediocrity, to throw all to the winds and seize on a possibility of greatness. That, like Williams after his home run, our heroes never returned our adoration in the measure we felt we deserved became part of our collective fan conscience, and you, Mr. Updike, captured that conscience in a way that any fan can read, understand, and adopt as his or her own.