It all started with a crush.
Timothy Lampa had fallen for one of the beer sellers at legendary Fenway Park, home of baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
“It was the first year I got shut out of season tickets,” recalled Lampa, 35. “I had a crush on a girl there. So, I was a little upset I wasn’t able to get tickets.”
Lampa did get his heart’s desire without any online assistance. However, the experience gave him the idea to start MatchingSox.com, a site dedicated to pairing up single Red Sox supporters.
Looking relaxed in jeans, a zippered sweatshirt and his No. 9 Ted Williams baseball cap, Lampa flashed a boyish grin as he recalled the beginning days of MatchingSox.
“It evolved from a way to date a season ticket holder to maybe being matched with a Red Sox fan,” he said. “‘Cause as any Red Sox fan knows, we have a passion for our team, and we do not want to get stuck with someone who likes the Yankees.”
Putting $6,000 on his credit card, Lampa got the site up and running with the help of a few tech-savvy friends. Today, MatchingSox has a roster of approximately 4,000 Red Sox singles from across the globe.
“We do have people from California all the way to Florida,” said Lampa. “Red Sox fans are everywhere, even Canada. People overseas have done it — soldiers.”
The majority of users range in age from 24 to 35 and reside in New England, according to Lampa, who works full-time at a Boston-area environmental company, where he cleans and repairs equipment.
He encourages members to have first dates that involve the Red Sox in some manner. New Jersey native Patrick Lowery and Dawn Graham from Connecticut met through the site and had their first date at Fenway Park. While Lowery had chatted with other MatchingSox members, neither he nor Graham had been on a date with someone from the site before.
“I got four tickets behind the dugout for a game the same day,” said Graham. “I invited Pat to come, but informed him that my mom and my best friend were also attending the game. He came. So, he either really liked me or likes the Red Sox that much. So, my mom and friend were on our first date.”
Despite the extra company, the lanky Lowery took a liking that day to the blonde Connecticut girl with the big smile.
“The Red Sox lost, but it all worked out,” added Lowery. “We were engaged in less than three months.”
Even though interest-based dating sites, like MatchingSox, provide a mutual connection that members can use to form romantic ones, experts say these organizations don’t necessarily have a better shot at bringing together couples that will last in the long run.
“Once you get into a relationship, it’s a whole new ballgame,” said relationship psychotherapist Bill Miller. “After the potential sparks and romance, we go back to the basics… How do we engage in a new kind of relationship that actually works based on communication and acceptance and forgiveness?”