Who couldn’t have rooted for the 2004 Red Sox? (Yankees fans, put your hands down. We know.) 86 years with no title, especially with the unprecedented comeback in the American League Championship Series against the “Evil Empire” Yankees?
And who couldn’t root for the New England Patriots against the yardage machine of the St. Louis Rams led by Kurt Warner?
And while the Celtics had no success in recent memory, you felt it was okay to let them ride on the winning tradition of the team that took the NBA from virtual barnstorming to an integral part of our culture.
Then in 2007, something happened. That Red Sox team that was the champion of underdogs suddenly turned around and pulled the rug out from under the Cleveland Indians—their heir apparent in the American League, then wiped out the Colorado Rockies, who had never won a ring – with a roster that had outspent their postseason opponents. While their fans just gloated with the same supremacy this side of the House that Steinbrenner Built.
Later that fall, that football team that managed to back up their rise to glory against the Rams with two more rings started getting greedy. After the scandal of “Spygate,” they didn’t apologize for—or even admit to anything, despite the league handing out consequences. Instead, they got vindictive, running up scores on teams with the same lack of apologies.
After the Giants saved us all from Patriot fans perennial gloating of having the Greatest Team of All Time, the Celtics were up to something. In the face of tradition, which meant building a team and watching it rise, they skipped to the end, signing Ray Allen and trading eight players for Kevin Garnett, setting the standard for the Heat team many vilified this past season.
By the end of 2008, most any fan was rolling their eyes at the word “Boston,” if not cursing under their breath. Many still are.
But there was one relief: The Bruins, despite earning the top seed in the 2008-09 playoffs, a playoff series here and there. When they choked away a 3-0 lead against the Flyers (even with a 3-0 lead going into the third period of the fourth game), it seemed like that would be Boston’s return to reality.
But no. The following year, they swiped the Stanley Cup away from the Vancouver Canucks, keeping that franchise hungry for a title they haven’t won in their 40-year history, and a country who invented the game away from the championship they have not enjoyed since 1993.
If patience was a virtue, then Boston’s sports fans were saints. Now their cups are running over and they could not be more indulgent of pride. Suck it up, Bostonians! We're all hoping it won't last too much longer.