In the relatively short amount of time I've lived in Boston
, I've noticed that Bostonians
have a special passion for their sports teams not found in any other city. They live and die by the box scores in the morning's Globe
. The word "angst" describes the situation well -- no, it describes it almost too perfectly. I've never counted, but when I see those crazy townies on their way to Fenway, I'm sure I see as many "YANKEES SUCK
" shirts as Red Sox
shirts. And that's regardless of the visiting team's identity.
It's fun to visit Fenway Park and watch a game with friends, making snide comments about the hardcore Sox fans. Random fans who do not know each other will console each other with distinct, Boston accent infected cries of "Come on!" in between sips of their Bud Light. Forget about enjoying a meal at one of Boston's fine establishments on a game night, if there's a bar attached to it. One would think that having so much energy and support for their teams would be, in general, a good thing. However, like the omnipresent frost from a winter in the Bay State, this pervasiveness gets to you.
Oddly enough, all of these townie fans seem to come from the same factory. They all share some common characteristics:
They are LOUD. For the love of God, are they loud. Alcohol and losing are like wood and gasoline for this fire. Don't like the Boston accent? Wait until the volume gets cranked up.
They may be fans of every pro sport that reaches the television. They may go to the games and know all of the players' names and stats. But can they play the games? Of course, it's not required that you be good at something to like it. But it still annoys me. I used to play basketball, then I started rowing. My vertical leap got chopped in half, and I haven't been to a basketball game since. I've lost interest. I realize that not everyone has talent. But how come all of the chumps who were cut from their high school squads end up being the biggest fans?
- They consider themselves to be an extremely crucial part of the team. There's nothing quite like hearing, "Yeah! We won last night!" "We" who? Yes, you support your team. You are not a part of it. You are not the owner. Hit the lottery, become rich and buy your own team. If you do that, you can claim that you've won all you want. Until then, realize that you haven't won anything except a cheap bet to make your best drinking buddy shave his head.
- They live for the opportunity to get on national television. In the event that a camera pans to them at a sporting event, they'll wave their props or index fingers wildly. For some reason, they don't realize that the camera only picks up images and not sound. They'll shout some silent nonsense and get their fifteen seconds of fame.
In all fairness, these fanatics are everywhere. Just look at the Cheeseheads in Green Bay. Boston just seems to have a mob mentality about it. It's a chain reaction: walk down the street with a rival team's logo on your shirt and watch the strangers' heads turn and shake, one by one. There is something to be said about being passionate about things, but there is more to be said about having perspective. Some people simply take professional sports way too seriously, and nowhere is this more evident than in the city of Boston.
In the end, however, I jest because I love. In sports Bostonians find unity. There is definitely an underlying bond in the city that nearly every citizen shares. Just beware if you are one of the few and proud that does not share in the fervor that sweeps the city.