More than just a fashion statement, beards can change your perspective. (Photo by Elizabeth Zanghi/The Ram)
You have noticed that the Boston Red Sox have all grown magnificent beards during their playoff run, right? No? Look out your window now; they are so large you can probably see them from here. Aren’t they terrific?
In Game 3 of the ALCS, the Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers and their ace Justin Verlander 1-0. Their lone run came in the form of a Mike Napoli home run. David Ortiz was eagerly awaiting Napoli’s return to the dugout after his home run trot, and he made the moment even sweeter by tugging on Napoli’s fearsome beard to celebrate.
The Red Sox’s beards are intimidating. They make the whole team look like they mean business. A beard has turned the boyish Jacoby Ellsbury into a meaner looking leadoff hitter. Dustin Pedroia’s beard makes him look a few inches taller. Mike Napoli’s, the grandest beard of them all, is downright menacing.
I grew a beard to begin my junior year here at Fordham. No, I did not start mine to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon. I am not sure my beard will ever compare to those glorious things. I simply wanted to try something new. I am quite glad with the way my beard is turning out.
My decision to try out a beard probably stems from the fact that I went to a Catholic high school. There was a strict no-facial-hair policy. I never got the chance to let my facial hair run its course in high school. Even my summer job frowned upon facial hair. This oppression of my facial freedom has always left me in wonder. Now, I relish the chance to try something new.
This certainly is not my first time exercising a freedom of expression. While I never got in trouble for having too much facial hair, my high school often took umbrage with the length of my actual hair. I often battled with my school administrators. I never got the hang of keeping the short hair my high school held in such high esteem. So, I went to college and began to let my hair go. I let it become a signature part of my appearance and style. It was one year, four months and 11 days before I finally cut my hair.
I loved having my hair long; it was terrific. I learned more about myself and had a lot of fun experimenting. People wanted to touch it; my cousins even succeeded in French braiding it. Exploring that difference in appearance makes me very proud.
My success with long hair makes me excited to start growing out my beard. I have already learned new things. Some things are good (it is easy to appear attentive in class when you have a beard you can stroke) and some are disappointing (my mother’s red hair genes appear to have manifested themselves in a small corner of my beard). But my shaving cream ran out a week ago, and I have no intention of buying more anytime soon.
The members of the Boston Red Sox have grown beards that have brought them both a huge sense of team continuity and arguably might have inspired their current success. I love their celebratory beard tugging. Grown men celebrating by tugging on each other’s beards like little kids tugging on their dads’ beards is both awesome and hilarious to watch.
The Sox started growing their facial hair as a friendly wager and quickly found out that their beards did things they did not expect. It is that sense of exploration and discovery that I hope to gain in my own facial hair journey. Though, to be honest, I would easily settle for looking as intimidating as Mike Napoli or the other Red Sox.