There’s no question what the two biggest sports in Boston are. I used to feel like they were the only two teams that anyone in New England cared about. I’m talking, of course, about the Red Sox and the Patriots. Although one could argue now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, that the Celtics have left a gargantuan crater of an impact on the Boston sports world after signing KG and Ray Allen and winning the NBA championship last season. But this 08-09 sports year has had it’s share of surprises.
For one, the Patriots lost half their fans when Tom Brady went down, but perhaps even more surprisingly, the Boston Bruins have emerged from the ashes and now have, arguably, the strongest team in the NHL. I’ve more than once now had to get up in the middle of the night and close my window after losing hours of sleep due to the town crier ringing his bell into the wee hours of the night, announcing that it’s okay to like hockey again.
I’ve been a Bruins fan my entire life. I remember December of 1987 – watching Ray Bourque take off his jersey to reveal ’77’ on his back in the ceremony retiring Phil Esposito’s old number. Yeah that’s how hardcore I am. I wasn’t even two. That’s probably a lie though… Maybe I just remember seeing old footage of it when I was a kid. But still, as far as calling me a “real fan” goes.. I started to seriously watch Bruins games regularly in high school, and I’ve been a pretty big fan ever since. And as a fan, I believe I’ve earned the right to hate bandwagoners… but I really don’t. I love hockey and I’ve always wished that more people did, so it’d be pretty hypocritical of me to hate on the surge of Bruins bandwagon jumpers. Yet why do some people make it so easy for me to hate?
I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard an ad for a sports show that went something along the lines of this: “The BRUINS are BIG in BOSTON – ONCE AGAIN! Now that the BRUINS are BACK – HARDCORE HOCKEY fans are discussing the BRUINS and the NHL on our new HOCKEY HOUR from SEVEN to EIGHT!” I almost thought it was some satirical joke. I even cracked a tiny smile. But it was not a joke. Now that the Bruins are good your hardcore “hockey fan” sports discussion staff discuss them? Really? How hardcore could they be if they only talk about hockey when the home team is doing well? That show will be canceled faster than Alicia can read a chapter in ‘Twilight’ if the Bruins bomb in the playoffs.
The final thought? If people want to start cheering for the Bruins who weren’t previously hockey fans, you have my blessing. But you’d better still be there should they slow down so that I’m not the only one freezing my ass off with a black and gold painted face in the middle of a vacant TD Banknorth Garden parking lot.