Sports-wise, I have pretty simple needs. College football on Saturdays – BC and Notre Dame and pros on Sunday – in this order: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, NY Giants (love me some Manning QBs) and then a selection of teams which vary by year. The occasional Red Sox game. Once in a great while, a Bruins game. But basketball? The Celtics? Not likely. Soccer? Never.
You have to keep in mind that I come from an area of the country that up until 2001 from the football and baseball perspectives was pretty much a sad story. Not Cubs-sad, but almost. We have had some classic disappointments. If you wanna hear a Bostonian groan, just say the name Billy Buckner. Not gonna explain. Still hurts. Google it.
Then in 2001, a miracle occurred. Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal in the last seconds of the game and the Pats went on to win Superbowl 35 or as the Latin scholars of the NFL refer to it, XXXV. Then, in 2004, lightning struck in the same spot again as the Boston Red Sox grabbed their first World Series title in 86 years.
Hockey Stanley Cups and basketball championships have been ours in recent memory. But the point is, I don’t care. Especially basketball. I’m Short Attention Span Suzy; when the score creeps up above hundred, I lose interest. Plus I’m used to being able to follow along and catch on. Basketball? Not so much. And the rules seem, well they just seem made up. You can’t walk without bouncing the ball, you have to throw the ball at the net in a certain amount of seconds. That free throw thing where you try to shoot while the other kids are making fun of you? Uhuh. Call me crazy but the last time I encountered rules that whacky, I was on a playground. Still can’t believe professional basketball has no rule about not stepping on a crack.
We are big celebrators here. If you want evidence, just show up for the St. Paddy’s day parade in Southie. We party hearty (picture it with the accent) and if you want to know how our teams did, don’t ask us – just look us in the eye on the day after. We experienced collective elation after our first Superbowl win and the entire area took the day off to watch the Red Sox take their victory parade lap through the streets of Boston in 2004. When we tanked in this season’s football playoffs, we suffered a kind of communal depression. People didn’t show up for work. OK – to be fair – people don’t show up for work after a win but that is for different reasons, mostly to do with grain alcohol.
There are now a whole generation of kids that have no idea what it is like to lose year after year after unrelenting year. These are kids who come from the home of the superstar Pats and Tom “Ponytail” Brady, from the mighty World Series Red Sox and Schilling’s Bloody Sock. They just have no idea what sports suffering is. Does it make us oldtimers better people? I like to think so.