One wrote that passing a night in jail made her feel "reduced to a fraction of myself." Another lamented that "running down to Fenway Park in a craze is only asking for one thing and that is trouble."
More than two weeks after they were arrested in the raucous celebration that followed the Red Sox American League Championship, several young men and one woman have penned essays about the experience that reveal a torrent of soul-searching, guilt purple prose - and some defiance.
After the Red Sox trounced the Cleveland Indians on the night of Oct. 21, hundreds of jubilant fans stormed to Fenway for a celebration police said grew out of control when revelers blocked an ambulance, threw rocks and bottles at police, and refused to disperse. Of the 17 arrested that night and charged with disorderly conduct, seven people, most of them college students, were ordered by Roxbury District Court Judge Edward Redd to write a five-page essay about their arrests.
Yesterday, five of the defendants, some dressed neatly in slacks and button-down shirts, appeared in court to submit their writings.
Some of the compositions expressed remorse and undying love for the Red Sox.
"A diehard Red Sox fan is what I am; this situation will not change that," Matthew White, 18, wrote in his essay, titled "Farewell Fenway."
"One thing I will change about myself after spending a night in jail and making it through the court process," he wrote, "will be the way I go about celebrating future Red Sox victories."
Others were defiant.
In her essay, Monica Majewski, an 18-year-old student at Massachusetts College of Art, said she was arrested only because she was unable to get out of the way of a line of officers marching down Park Drive.
She described the bewilderment and bitterness she felt when she was forced to the ground by two large officers and restrained with plastic ties.
"I had a strong sense of being both violated and handled in an unnecessarily hostile manner," she wrote.
She then described her desperation as she sat in a holding cell.
"I felt a gloom heavier than any load I've carried on my back or in my heart," she wrote.
Michael Jauquet, 18, an Emmanuel College freshman who appeared in court yesterday with his father, wrote in his essay that he was arrested after chanting that he had a right to walk on the street.
"I was angry about the government," Jauquet said in an interview after the proceeding. "I tried to be radical. It didn't work out for me."
His father, a union carpenter also named Michael, stood by his son and laughed ruefully. "Very true," he said.
In his essay, Jauquet said he regretted speaking out, an action sparked by his anger over the Iraq war.
"Thinking back on it now, it was neither the time nor the place for a political form of protest," he wrote. "I learned from this experience that I must choose more wisely the path I follow."
"I'm very proud of him," his father said outside the courtroom. "His paper, it's extraordinary. Very humble, insightful."
All of the cases were continued until Nov. 15, when Redd, who was at a judges conference yesterday, will be back in court. Several of the defendants, including Jauquet, were told to return with their essays.
Redd, who could not be reached for comment, is not allowed to discuss pending cases, a court spokeswoman said.
Thomas T. Merrigan, former first justice of Orange District Court, said Redd's order was creative and effective because it forced the defendants to consider the consequences of their actions.
"We want people who go through the system to come away from the experience with a better sense of what their responsibilities as a community member are," he said.
"Redd's order compelled the defendants to consider, 'Gee, I need to think about this.' It's about respect for other people and respect for what the community concerns are."
Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.