Last night, Patriots fans witnessed the faces of their franchise for over a decade hoist their FOURTH Lombardi trophy. The game was a THRILLER. Malcolm Butler sealed the victory by exorcising the ghost of David Tyree and the helmet catch. This victory meant everything to the team and to the fans. It was validation of the Patriot way and everything that we have put our trust in as Patriots fans. We’re onto Cincinnati is the battle cry of the century. In light of last night’s events, and after a long conversation with a dear Auburn alumna friend of mine about what it’s like to be a fan, I share with all of you my interpretation of the Boston sports fan.
Overall, the Boston sports fan is fiercely loyal with a rebel spirit and has undying faith in their teams.
Being a Boston fan is truly in someone’s blood. It’s tradition. Their parents were fans, their grandparents were fans and their grandparent’s parents were fans. Most likely there’s a photo of them or their child wearing a Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins or Celtics onesie as an infant. It was never questioned what fan many Boston sports fans would be, it just was.
A Boston sports fan lives their emotion through sports. The city was devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings. It was an attack on one of the city’s most beloved days, Patriot’s Day, where the true rebel spirit that historically runs through the pulse of this city is celebrated along with an amazing athletic feat, the Boston Marathon. There wasn’t a dry eye in Fenway Park on April 20, 2013, at the first Red Sox game after the Boston Marathon bombing. But the fan base quickly dried their tears and rallied behind David Ortiz’s immortal words of “This is our f***ing city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.” Sports healed the Boston fan after the devastation of the bombings. The Red Sox brought the Boston Sports fan back to life.
The Boston sports fan associates the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows with individual moments and games. Just the mere mention of Eli Manning’s name will cause a visible wince from a Patriots fan. Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, never forget. The day Paul Pierce was traded marked the end of an era for the Celtics, and many were saddened that a city hero was now gone. On the flip side, in 2013 Broncos-Patriots game where Belichick famously took the wind in overtime after overcoming a 24-0 deficit at the half, will always be remembered as an instant classic that brought cheers of joy across the city, and all of New England. The Boston fan remembers running around the city until the sun came up rejoicing in 2011 when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and later gathered at the celebratory parade. Or in 2008, when the Celtics won the NBA Finals and beat LA. The Boston fan recalls the sheer joy felt when flocking to the Common after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series and celebrating while waving the American flag with complete strangers. Add last night’s electrifying Super Bowl victory to this long list of incredible moments. When Malcolm Butler made that interception, New England fans were overcome with sheer joy.
A Boston sports fan has an unapologetic rebel spirit and a deep reverence for all sports legends. They love their team and they defend them to the end. Wearing any Yankee paraphernalia at Fenway Park is downright sacrilegious to a Boston fan. Any Boston fan between the ages of seven and eighty-seven will not hesitate to tell you exactly how they feel about that Yankee hat you have on in their church of baseball. Tom Brady and Lord Belichick, the hooded one, will forever be household names. Fenway Park is practically a place of religious worship. Few names carry the weight of Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque when you talk hockey in this city. Pedro Martinez and Ted Williams are just two of the many Red Sox players who will be forever revered by the Boston sports fan. Bill Russell and Larry Bird are in a class of their own when discussing basketball. And if anyone were to speak badly about any of these people, you could bet that a Boston fan would gladly let you know, with a few choice words, just how wrong you were. A Boston fan takes it personally when anyone disgraces a name honored in their city.
The Boston fan has unwavering faith. In 2004, when after 86 years the Curse of the Bambino was finally snapped, was one moment where the city as a whole was genuinely happy (a rarity here, indeed.) The Boston fan believed. And their belief came to be.
CUE THE DUCK BOATS.
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