By Mark Paulette
Let us give thanks. Thanks for our family, for our friends, for our health and most importantly, for being a Boston sports fan.
It’s a sentiment often overlooked by us diehard New Englanders. Or should I say, us whiny, crabby, anxious, overly emotional, spoiled band of followers.
We love to hate. We love to criticize. We strive to be ‘negative Neds.’ It’s just what we do. (If you don’t believe me, listen to The Drive, weekdays 4-6 p.m. on 92.9 FM).
We live in a unique pocket of the country. A place where complacency and process are curse words. A place where actual curses can be blindly attributed to the failures of one generation while the successes of the next merit little but criticism. See David Ortiz circa 2008-09, Tom Brady circa 2014, or Bill Belichick circa well, every day. Even the most legendary of figures can’t hide from the media, bloggers or Monday morning quarterbacks in these parts.
What’s lost in all this, you might ask? The simple fact that we are living in the Golden Age of Boston Sports.
The Patriots have won 13 of the last 15 AFC East titles, have been to 10 conference championships, six super bowls and have won four. Those aren’t just rarefied numbers in the NFL, those are as holy as they come in all of sports. Yet everyone is having a panic attack about the defensive capabilities of this current squad (which oh by the way, has the second best record in the NFL and possesses the greatest quarterback to ever grace the earth).
The Red Sox won three World Series in nine years, not bad after going 0-for-the-previous-86. Yes, they’ve experienced a lull in recent years and everyone loves to pile on John Farrell, but let us not forget this is a man who has led the Sox to two AL East crowns in the past four years. (The Sox won the East twice in the 22 years before he came to town).
The Celtics bandwagon has shrunk considerably over the past two weeks, as the team has slumped to an 8-6 start out of the gates. But they still have arguably the best young coach in the game, a potent offense and they’re defense should come around once everyone’s healthy. (And let’s not forget, it took Brad Stevens less than two years to transform this squad from bottom-feeders to postseason regulars). (Secondary side note, the C’s went 271-121 [.691] from 2007-2012, played for four conference championships, won a pair of those and took home banner 17, but I digress or re-digress? It’s harder to sidebar a sidebar than it is for the Celtics to lure a marquee free agent to Boston.)
The Bruins have been a pleasant surprise to begin the year and Tuukkaa appears to have returned to top form. I’ll spare you any more breakdown because I simply don’t know any further. What I do know is the B’s added to the city’s championship count in 2011 and came two games away from a second in 2013. (I was at that infamous game six…it was still one helluva game despite the outcome. Get the point of this piece yet?)
Hell, even the New England Revolution have gone to five MLS Championships since 2002 and won the league cup in 2007. (Yes, that’s a real team).
My point is simple. We can’t escape success as New England sports fans, yet we can’t be satisfied by it either. No matter how big the return, we’ll always want more. We’ll always find the imperfections and magnify them to outshine the successes.
Just take a tiny baby step back and realize how remarkably lucky you are. How lucky we all are to be able to call these teams our own.
So when you sit down and prepare to stuff your face with turkey, stuffing and potatoes tomorrow, all I ask is that you take a moment while giving thanks and send a few towards our beloved teams.
My spiel is done. Happy Thanksgiving! From your neighborhood PVC.
Mark Paulette is the PVC on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.