Friday, December 6, 2013

Enjoy this Golden Age of Boston Sports


By Bill Gouveia


            It has become a bit passé to bemoan how spoiled we Boston sports fans have become.  But I’m going to do it anyway.


            It’s like telling your kids how tough it was in the “old days”.  You know, when you actually had to get out of your chair to change the TV channel, and walked to school in the snow uphill both ways every day?  The kind of stuff you swore you would never drone on about after listening to your elders do the same when you were younger.


            But when it comes to sports here in New England, these in fact are the good old days.  They may never get any better.  We are living in the golden age of Boston sports, and those of us nearer to the end of our journey than the beginning are really starting to appreciate it. Or at least – we should be.


            Let’s make the obligatory review here.  The Red Sox have won three World Series titles (including this season) in the last ten years, after going most of nine decades without one.  The Patriots have won three Super Bowls since 2001, and played in two others – the most successful professional sports franchise in the country over that time. 


            The Bruins won a Stanley Cup in 2011 after almost 40 years of futility.  And the Celtics won a championship in 2008 and nearly won a couple more before moving into their current rebuilding mode.  That’s eight professional championships in the last 13 years, and several near-misses.


            That is one heck of a run.  So Boston fans must be just smiling and enjoying life, right?  If you believe that, you just don’t understand the general nature of the average New England fan.  I wouldn’t say we are generally pessimistic, but also wouldn’t disagree if that was your opinion. 


There are people who think the proverbial glass is half full.  There are folks who believe the glass is half empty.  Then there are Boston sports fans who want to know who took the other half of the water, and who they can blame for allowing it to happen.


            If you’ve ever listened to Boston sports talk radio (my car radio is perpetually tuned to one of the two stations) you know the passion New Englanders bring to what most consider fun and games.  And you know that shortly after the Red Sox won the World Series this October, the focus of hardcore fans had already turned to who was going to be catching and playing centerfield next season and how they should be obtained.


            Patriot fans feel like they are suffering through a “down year” as their injury-riddled team heads towards its fifth consecutive division title.  In my 41st year as a season ticket holder, I laugh as I listen to complaints about the team not signing enough stars or the way their coach conducts his press conferences.


            I sat on cold aluminum benches to watch this team for 30 years.  I went when you couldn’t give away game tickets.  I suffered through Dick McPherson, Ron Meyer and Rod Rust as head coaches.  I was there when the highlight of the game was a dog catching a Frisbee at halftime.


            So my advice is – smell the roses.  Pause and appreciate what we have been given.  This is something special, something unique, and it may never happen again in my lifetime or that of my children and grandchildren.  This is the pinnacle of being a professional sports fan.


Of course, I should take my own advice.  I’m as bad if not worse than most.  I can find a problem behind any silver lining when it comes to our local teams.  It is the result of watching Bucky Bleeping Dent’s homer, the ball go through Buckner’s legs, Grady Little leaving Pedro in, and Eli Manning twice outplaying Tom Brady in a Super Bowl.


But I’m trying to rehabilitate myself.  I’m turning over a new leaf.  I’m going to sit back and enjoy this tremendous sporting environment in which we live.  I’m going to relax.


What’s that?  The Sox signed AJ Pierrzsynski to catch?  Oh man, bad move.  They should have kept Salty.  There goes next season. 


I’m not sure this rehab thing is working.


Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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