If plagued by bleak beginnings, have hope

BOSTON — It should have been a momentous occasion. Spring was in the air, and, after months of extensive construction, one of America’s most beloved teams had officially moved into a ballpark considered state-of-the-art for its time. But rain, and something else, kept the grand opening of Boston’s Fenway Park from taking place with much fanfare.

The year was 1912. The date?  Saturday, April 20.

Five days prior to the opening pitch, the Titanic, the largest ship afloat at the time, had sunk, killing over 1,500 passengers. Victims ranged from some of the world’s wealthiest to the many European emigrants looking to begin new lives in the United States. The magnitude of the tragedy made it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.

On opening day, which had been postponed three times due to rain, shock of the sinking still reverberated worldwide. Boston newspapers, originally billed for extensive news coverage of the event, couldn’t find room among their all-caps headlines to mention Fenway Park’s grand opening. The home-opener crowd was over 10,000 fans short of stadium capacity.  Pregame festivities had shrunk to a mere ceremonial pitch by Boston’s mayor, John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald.

In a time of great distress for the nation, America’s favorite pastime had taken a backseat.

And while St. Bonaventure students admit their struggles do not compare to the devastating tragedy of the Titanic’s sinking, they, much like Red Sox fans in 1912, have had to put their favorite pastimes on the back-burner in times of great distress.

Junior Amanda Brogan, a history major and secondary education minor, has a lengthy list of extra-curricular activities that have prevented her from partaking in many of the activities known to define college life. She is a resident assistant, class senator for the student government association, vice president of the history club, secretary of “Knitty by Nature,” ambassador to SGA for “SBU for Equality” and fundraising officer for SBU women’s rugby.

A self-professed fan of the film modeled after the Titanic tragedy, Brogan felt comfortable drawing parallels between her own life and a famed scene from the movie.

“Honestly, I feel like my life is the Titanic,” Brogan said. “Hear me out. I feel like my life is from the part in the movie where they’re all waiting to fall in the water, but I just never do.”

She said balancing her academics with other facets of her life has proved challenging.

“This semester I think is the worst semester that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Brogan said. “Things are not going great, as you can see by my nice comparison. I’ve been in Buffalo every Friday for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been gone since 7 a.m. today and I have to work tonight. Then I’ll sleep two hours and go to a rugby tournament in the morning. When I come back, I’ll try to see my friends who I haven’t seen in two weeks.”

Brogan admitted that not being able to take time to enjoy the small things, like watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” or going out to dinner with friends, has taken its toll.

“I’m mentally, physically and emotionally obliterated all the time,” Brogan said. “I’m tired a lot. I’m not sleeping enough, and I’m the type of person who really requires nine hours of sleep. I get anywhere between four and six hours of sleep, six on a good night.”

Brogan also said her relationships with others have become strained at times because of her struggles.
“I’m the type of person who loves humor,” Brogan said. “I laugh a lot, but there have been times when I’ve been in high-stress situations, and I’ll laugh it off, but then I’ll cry. I scare my professor. I scare myself. I’m not doing college right.”

Though she said she had fears about the future, Brogan remained hopeful about all that is to come in the upcoming semesters.

“I do feel like I’m Rose watching the water come, but I’m going to find that door and I’m going to use it to pull me to safety somehow,” Brogan said. “I may almost die in the process, but at least I’ll make it. Maybe. To be determined.”

Fenway Park’s grand opening was bleak, tainted by the aftermath of the Titanic tragedy, but Fenway’s opener marked the first of 57 victories the Sox would achieve in their first season at the venue.

And though Brogan said her junior year has been “a bummer,” tainted by academic stresses and a lack of sleep, she could be seen carefully wrapping a scarf around her neck and checking her hair in the mirror before she left for an Italian restaurant, Ravyn & Robyn, ready to (finally) enjoy a night out with friends.

Jess Dillon

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