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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Why every Boston championship win means something to me 

I have been living abroad in Abu Dhabi the last five years, and despite the distance, I've still enjoyed every Boston championship victory

There was a time when I honestly thought I’d never see the Boston Red Sox win a championship. It may be hard to believe these days, but when I was younger, the Red Sox were a team that were once endearingly known as the “lovable losers” because of not only how they lost (which was painfully), but well, how often they didn’t win (which was often).

Oh how things have changed.

The Sox won their fourth World Series title in 14 years – an impressive feat considering it took them 86 years to win their first back in 2004. In fact, it’s been more than a great couple of years as the city of Boston has now won 11 championships since 2001 through their four major sports teams.

Growing up as a Boston sports fan, I can still remember how different it used to feel. Before we were known as a "Title Town", before there were championship parades and boastful social media posts … there was a lot of heartache. A lot of "almost’s" and "better luck next year’s".

There was Aaron Boone’s crushing Game 7 walk-off extra inning home run in 2003. There was the Bruins devastating Game 7 loss after blowing a 3-0 series lead in 2010. There was the Celtics heartbreaking defeat in Game 7 to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. There were the simply miserable Patriots seasons before the Tom Brady-era.

These days, I've come to realise those painful moments back then only helped instill that I would probably be a Boston fan for life. After all, if you’re going to follow a team, it’s only natural you suffer when they lose so that you can feel the euphoria when they finally win. And there's no bigger moment than winning it all. I was 16 and at home when the Red Sox won their first World Series, but 23 and in Boston when I watched the Bruins win.

The last 15 years have looked quite different for me as a sports fan. At 30, I’ve seen more championships than I thought I would. I’ve been lucky enough to see at least one championship from every major team and I've gotten to celebrate the the last three (2014 Patriots, 2016 Patriots, 2018 Red Sox) while living abroad in Abu Dhabi.

Read more: From Boston to LA: celebs spotted at the 2018 World Series

I do my best and try to wake up when I can. Usually I manage to catch the latter part of a game but if it’s really special (and there’s no work the next morning, of course), I’ll try to match those 4am starts. You’d think with all this winning, I might actually get sick of it but don't worry, I haven’t. Every win will always feel special no matter how many times it’s done.

It’s been five years since I last lived in Boston. When there's a new championship, whether my friends are in Abu Dhabi or Boston (or New York or Oregon), it's not long before there's a celebratory message exchanged.

Every home run or goal scored, every big save or big play just reminds me of home. There's a sense of pride that awakens when your team does well. This is why I love being a sports fan. Even though I’m more than 10,000km away, I still feel connected to something bigger.