Hello New England,
Hi, my name is MattDotRich. Chilly up here isn’t it? See, I was going to leave a DELIGHTFUL post today about a hypothetical 1 Billion Dollar NBA game and who I and Bob Sacramano would have on our teams and why, but I’m forced instead to come here to talk you off this proverbial ledge. Now, know that I’m a fellow Bostonian; I’m writing this from an apartment on the Medford/Somerville line thats decor consists almost exclusively of Boston sports memorabilia and has a floor that desperately needs to swept, so know this comes from a place of love, but… sit down and shut up.
Because I can’t stand to watch what was once a proud and loyal fan base come off as the brat who for the first time in 15 years didn’t get exactly what they wanted for Christmas. The Power Wheel is in the garage, top videogame console and all the best games are in the living room, the furby, tickle me elmo, and every other hot toy there ever was is in the den. This year you might not have gotten THE toy, but at some point you have to be grateful for what you have.
Yes, I understand that getting smacked around by the Ravens, an unjustifiable 9.5 point underdog, absolutely sucked. That watching a fraud like Ray Lewis point to the sky or pound the ground for a thousandth time wasn’t fun. Just as it wasn’t fun watching Mario Manningham do the same last year. Just as it isn’t fun watching a decrepit Celtics team seem to give up hope as they continue to get older. Just as missing out on a half a season of Bruins hockey probably wasn’t fun for people who are into that kinda thing (Sorry, I’m not. I checked out of Ice Hockey once it got past picking between the fat and skinny guys).
But at some point you have to show some gratitude for what you have, and where you’ve been. At 29, I’ve seen more success by my local sports teams than most men three times my age. I’ve nearly pushed a friend over a second floor barrier at a bar in excitement over watching Tony Allen throw down a reverse dunk to put the Celtics up FORTY ONE points in a deciding NBA Finals over the team’s most storied rival*. I’ve listened to ‘My Hero’ by the Foo Fighters 32 times on loop because I knew Tom Brady couldn’t win his first Super Bowl without me playing it. I’ve skipped school to see Lawyer Milloy hold the Lombardi trophy high while wearing the most ridiculous mink coat I’ll ever see. I’ve seen the Boston Red Sox rally to beat THEIR most storied rival in the most decorated comeback of all time. And I even had a grin on my face when my roommate – a die hard Yankee fan – knocked out our power by punching our switch box after Johnny Damon blasted a grandslam to put the Sox up 9 in the 4th.
I’ve high fived people because they looked as happy as me, hugged strangers because they were wearing the same shirt as I, and shimmied with a man because he was wearing an Antoine Walker jersey. I’ve gotten to watch one of, if not the greatest quarterbacks of all time helm my football team, while one of the greatest power forwards of all time anchored the defense for my basketball team. And I’ve seen the best right handed hitter of a generation bat before the absolute most clutch left handed batter. Absolute sports euphoria.
I don’t write this to suggest that these experiences are all that unique. I write them because if you’re reading this you’re a Boston Sports Fan (or a masochist, I guess) and you’ve had your own similar experiences. And you remember the pure unfiltered joy it brought to you.
And now what? You’re forced to watch a highly competitive football team lose in the AFC Championship? You had to endure a tough Game 7 loss against the eventual NBA Champion? You had to watch the Red Sox swing and miss on a few high priced free agents? You had to spend some time with your girlfriend while a game against the Washington Capitals was erased due to a labor dispute?
It could be a lot fucking worse. The only champion my family in Cleveland has seen in the past 60 years is The Miz. So while you complain about how Tom Brady is maybe past his prime you think about how Derek Anderson is the best quarterback they’ve seen in the past 20 years. Wikipedia him. Their best sports memories are assigning blame for who jinxed the Indians in the 97′ World Series, getting the team they had stolen from them back, and coming up with inventive ways to still drive people to their bars after their hometown boy announced that he’d be ‘taking his talents to South Beach.’ On their wedding anniversaries when they tell their wives their happiest moments were with her, they might actually mean it. Gross, right?
So enjoy what you have, and stop being a brat. It’s not a good look.
You’ve been to the top of everest, and you can still see it right now. Act like it.
*I also, as a 20 year old, shook my then 11 year old sister like a British nanny when Big Papi hit what I later learned to be a go-ahead double against the A’s. I say ‘later learned’ because once I saw that ball go over the right fielders head I just started to grab her shoulders and shake. I had assumed it was a homerun. What I’m getting at is that I might have a problem being physical while enjoying games.