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Cue the duckboats!

In the early moments of Saturday, Oct. 27, the crack of dawn is on the horizon, transitioning from pitch-black night to sunlight illuminating from the North Dakota sky.

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In the early moments of Saturday, Oct. 27, the crack of dawn is on the horizon, transitioning from pitch-black night to sunlight illuminating from the North Dakota sky.

And I'm wide awake.

Hours earlier, I sat on my couch following a long day of work to catch the tail-end of the longest postseason in Major League Baseball history, a draining seven-hour affair known as Game 3 of the 2018 World Series.

And by tail-end, I mean the final three hours of living and dying with every single pitch.

Leading 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, Boston was on the verge of taking a commanding 3-0 series lead when Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler slipped while gloving a grounder off the bat of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Rather than regaining his footing and taking his time to make a throw or just hold the ball, Kinsler, in an audition to become the modern-day Bill Buckner, fired an off-balanced toss well wide of first base, allowing Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy to score the tying run from second.
Five innings later, Muncy ended the game with an opposite-field solo home run off of newly minted New England sports hero Nathan Eovaldi, who gutted his way through 97 pitches.

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Devastating.

Suddenly, this lifelong Red Sox fan is stuck on the couch, frozen in agony. I only got up to pace around my apartment.

Not only did I witness a game my team should have won, but the series appeared in jeopardy, as Eovaldi, who was scheduled to get the ball on the mound for Game 4, was then out of commission because of his long relief stint.

As I'm sure was the case for Sox fans across the country, sleep was not in my immediate future. And like most fans who stayed up to watch, especially the ones in the Eastern time zone, I paid for it the next day.
Leaving my place a good 15 minutes later than I planned, I drove to Bowman County to cover a playoff football game, but first stopped by a gas station to fill up my tank.

After paying inside, for whatever reason I started my vehicle before lifting the gas pump. I caught myself with the pump in my hand before setting the place on fire by fueling the car, put the pump back and turned off the engine. Turning back to the pump, I noticed the message: "Would you like a receipt?"

It was only then I realized I would have to walk back inside and explain to the cashier what happened, as if I was someone totally unfamiliar with the gas-pumping process in spite of my two decades of experience.

When I arrived at Bowman County High School, I began walking to the stadium with all of my equipment when I realized I did not have my notebook. Thinking that I was already late, I chose to improvise, asking a person in the press box for sheets of loose-leaf paper. With wind gusts stronger than 40 mph, it certainly wasn't easy writing down notes, but I made the best of a blunder.

After the game when I returned by to my car, there was my notebook, sitting in plain view on top of the dashboard.

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There were many more mistakes made throughout that day, but if I had to do it all over again, I would; watching a loss like that just makes the end result that much sweeter.

Two days later, the Red Sox were crowned World Series Champions for the fourth time in my lifetime, transforming from cursed losers to the best organization in baseball since the turn of the century. It's Boston's 11th professional sports title since 2001, the year in which I moved from my birthplace of Brockton, Mass., to Florida.

When I lived in Massachusetts, local sports writers and radio hosts, better known as the "fellowship of the miserable," nicknamed Boston as "Loserville." And with good reason. Boston did not have a single professional franchise qualify for the postseason during my last year there.

Since my departure, the Hub has become titletown, the successful sports city in the country, so I guess I was bad luck.

As I've cheered from afar, there wasn't one title that I took for granted, not one title that wasn't celebrated and deemed important. All the hours committed to watching them, reading stories, listening to podcasts; all the times discussing them, defending them, supporting them; all the dollars going into rocking their merchandise and the times I've been fortunate enough to watch these teams in person have strengthened a love affair that has been strong for as long as I can remember.

But through it all, oddly enough, it's a love that I still haven't gotten used to in a way, certainly not one that I've become fully comfortable with, and the results are never expected.

Plus, there's still a bit of that "Loserville DNA" that creeps up where you can't fully appreciate all of the winning, wondering what could go wrong rather than what has gone, and will continue to, go right.

This unprecedented stretch is bound to end, right?

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It's gone wrong in other places; it has even gone wrong plenty of times during this Boston's championship era.

The Patriots have won five Super Bowl titles, but were victimized by the Helmet Catch, blew a 21-3 lead to Peyton Manning in the 2006 AFC Championship Game and have fallen in two other Super Bowls this decade that they should have won.

The Red Sox have won four World Series but committed the worst September collapse in MLB history in 2011. Also, anytime Aaron Boone appears on my television, I still get flashbacks.

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, emerging victorious in three Game 7's that postseason. However, two years later during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago, they also allowed two goals in less than 20 seconds, stumbling into a deficit with just over a minute remaining in the game. Down 3-2 in the series, the Bruins wasted an opportunity to play in another Game 7 with a championship on the line.

Lastly, the Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, their hated rival, in 2008 to capture the franchise's 17th title. That is my favorite championship of the bunch, but two years later, I watched as that same rival ripped my heart out in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, denying the Celts, who led for most of the contest, title No. 18.

Enough of the bad moments, though. It's time for New England to rejoice again as the Red Sox will get to cue the duckboats for another parade on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

I'll be watching from my computer, likely remembering the journey this Red Sox team went through to bring another title to Boston. Because whether you're a player in the trenches, a diehard fan who has seen all the good and bad, or a buffoon who has forgotten how to use a gas pump, the path traveled makes it all worth it.

Opinion by Patrick Bernadeau
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