It wasn't a dream, so don't pinch yourself. After 86 years and countless failures, the Boston Red Sox finally broke the Curse and won the World Series. Their championship run was improbable; it featured the greatest comeback in sports history against their hated rivals from New York. Then Boston swept the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team with baseball's best record. The eight consecutive wins seem to defy the very nature of the franchise. But the 2004 Red Sox somehow arrived with the right mixture of strokes of luck and strokes of the bat, producing that intangible element that is critical to postseason success.

But it was not only the success of this team that made it so compelling. It was a special group of players, each of whom had playing styles and personalities as distinct as their hairstyles, yet still played extraordinarily well as a team. And after Keith Foulke flipped the ball to Doug Mientkievicz for the final out of the Series, fans around New England and all over the world took to the streets to celebrate this magical group. At Brandeis, fans showed their jubulance, some by gathering in the quads and others by taking a swim in Yakus Pond. The festivities continued on Saturday when the Red Sox returned from St. Louis for their victory parade, which was attended by an estimated 3.5 million fans.

For many, the Sox' victory has not yet sunk in. After eight and a half decades of near-misses and heartache, Boston's failures spawned a culture of pessimism in New England. But Red Sox fans always held onto the hope that someday they would have a world championship. Now, they finally do. And in case you are still in disbelief, don't worry. When you wake up tomorrow, the Sox will still be champs.