Russ Kelly sobbed Wednesday when his hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, beat the St. Louis Cardinal 3-0 and won their first World Series championship since 1918.
"Growing up a Red Sox fan, heartbreak after heartbreak, you wonder if you will be able to see this," said Kelly, with tears. "A good friend of mine back in New Hampshire died a few years ago. We always talked about sports. He was in his 70s. He never saw them win. I am only 34 years old. And the curse is over."
The St. Louis Cardinals last won the World Series in 1982.
Kelly grew up in Chelmsford, Mass. He can still remember vividly walking aimlessly in darkness after the Red Sox lost their last World Series appearance in 1986. "I was in a mini-coma," he said.
On Tuesday night, Kelly watched Game 4 of the series at home with his girlfriend, Ellen Schultz, Schultz's mother, Anne, and a friend, Lauren Yocom.
They wore shirts designed by Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. The shirts said "Why not us?" on the front and "If 25 men believe they can, they will," on the back.
"Curt brought this optimism to the team," Kelly said.
Kelly's love for the Red Sox is contagious. He has turned Schultz and Yocom into faithful fans.
Although she has been a Red Sox fan for two weeks, Yocom, 21, wears a washable Red Sox tattoo on her arm.
"Baseball has so many strategies," Yocom said. "Russ turns the games into a big drama."
When the Red Sox beat the Yankees last Thursday in the American League Championship series, Schultz bought tickets to watch the team play against the Cardinals at Fenway Park in Boston.
"Ellen did all the work. I was just so stunned and overwhelmed," Kelly said. 'When I told my boss I needed to take a few days off, she said she understood. She said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
When St. Louis batter Edgar Renteria hit a grounder to Boston pitcher Keith Foulke, who threw to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out of the game, Kelly burst out crying.
While Schultz got champagne from the kitchen, Kelly just sat on the sofa, crying like a baby. He was speechless.