Full slideshow here.
First, my apologies about the lateness of this post--it's taken me a full two days to resurface after the Red Sox buried me in happiness Sunday.
Second, let's all pause a moment to reflect on what a great time this is to be a Boston sports fan.
We are awash in an embarrassment of riches. I haven't had time to post this, for example, because I've been too busy celebrating the second World Series Championship for the Boston Red Sox in four years, a phrase I still can't believe even as I type it, despite the fact that I saw it happen live, saw the players return with the trophy to Fenway Park yesterday, and was there on Boston Common at the celebration parade today.
The Patriots suffered neglect similar to this blog from me on Sunday--and from the rest of Gillette Stadium. It looked like at least a third of the stadium had cleared out after the half, and a mass exodus began in the third quarter. All around me the Sox were so much on everybody's lips that it was like a constant chattering hiss in the background, "Soxsoxsoxsoxsoxsox" from a million directions. On our way in to the stadium, the crowd of fans around me started an echoing "Let's Go, Red Sox" chant in one of the pedestrian tunnels just to hear the shouts bounce off the walls.
I felt guilty about this, as the third-string Patriots played out garbage time before an oddly empty house, but I reasoned that if they played baseball in February, and the Red Sox were up 14-0 on the Devil Rays, we wouldn't skip the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to watch them.
I have never felt energy like I did when I first stepped out of the car at Gillette on Sunday, and while a lot of it had to do with Sox mania, Patriots Nation was just as upbeat, and how can you blame us?
What people say about Boston fans all the time is that we're never satisfied--we want the Sox to win the World Series and the Pats the Super Bowl every single year. Also, if the Sox and Pats can win every other game, that would be nice. And that's to say nothing of the C's (who are also looking to go on a tear this year) and B's (who are actually doing ok for themselves so far this season and dodged a bullet after one of their star players, Patrice Bergeron, was the victim of a devastating hit on Sunday, but turned out to be relatively okay.)
We've found ourselves now in the cognitive dissonance-inducing situation of getting exactly what we've demanded unfairly from our teams all these years. And for all the stereotypes of Boston fans as the "fellowship of the miserable," masochistic cretins who will complain no matter what, most of the actual fans on the ground I've seen in the last week are walking around with big goofy grins on their faces like they just found 20 bucks. For once, the WEEI mediots have no power here. For once, Dan Shaughnessy and his curse baloney are a laughingstock. For once in a long history of bitterness, Boston fans are simply enjoying themselves.
I feel the need to mention this because there are many nationally trying to rain on our parade right now. I've tried to have the debates, and then tried to understand the motivations behind the completely illogical, pointless haterism going on about both teams currently in the spotlight here in New England. Maybe it comes with the territory. Maybe we've finally had too much success. At this point, I'm saying the hell with it.
The bottom line going forward is: we could very well be experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime era in Boston sports. We could very well be watching one of the greatest football teams ever assembled, and they're playing in our uniform. It's our job to appreciate that as fans for as long as it lasts, even if nobody outside New England seems to want to join us.