Born Into It...The True Meaning of Being a New Englander
New England is an odd, but special place. It may be 60 and sunny one second, and snowing 30 seconds later. There are five universities within walking distance of each other in Massachusett's most well known city.
However, despite some of the odd characteristics in each of our six fraternity brother's (especially the pesky little one at the bottom that ends in "Island") there is always one consistent. Sports.
The Celtics and Bruins have recently returned to the hearts of the most die-hard New Englanders, but there's still something about the Red Sox and Patriots that makes this region so unique.
I received my first set of Red Sox tickets at the ripe age of 4. How did I get them? Because I was already able to recite the starting nine before I could fully read or write.
It is not something we are asked to be brought into when we are born. It just happens. It is simply a way of life in these parts, a religion.
Many people now love the new and luxurious Gillette Stadium. Me? I miss the old metal benches at Foxboro Stadium. While I was not around for the more hostile and miserable days as a Patriots fan, a first memory of Drew Bledsoe handing off to Curtis Martin with the "Tuna" roaming the sidelines is just something I will never be able to explain to an Arizona Cardinals or Jacksonville Jaguars fan...it's just not the same.
There is a certain sense of family, and learning here when rooting for these teams. It is also a legitimate life lesson being a New England sports fan as well. "Ya' gotta' believe" is a motto I continue to live by on a daily basis. If the Red Sox had done what they did in all those miserable years prior to 2004, and I had lived to come back and embrace them year after year...life must be the same way, right?
Being a New England sports fan is a generational thing. My father is the main reason I am where I'm at today. My christening of sorts, walking into Fenway Park or the old Foxboro with him, and hearing "make sure you look around and take this in"...is a moment that I know no other place on earth can provide quite like each of those venues did.
After watching Adam Vinatieri win Super Bowl XXXVI, my father simply sat there and said "remember this...you may never see it again." Little did I know the next eight years would produce two more Super Bowls, two World Series' and an NBA title.
When Aaron Boone's walk off sailed out in 2003, my phone rang. "NOW you know what it's REALLY like to be a Red Sox fan" he said.
Stories of him sprinting home with a transistor radio, only to burst into the house from school as Bucky "Bleeping" Dent rounded the bases...all of these moments are something each New Englander has.
We are truly born into this aspect of life around here...and we wouldn't want it any other way.
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