April 28, 2013 by
86 years of the Curse.
39 years without The Cup.
41 years before a Superbowl victory
22 years without hanging a banner.
It occurred to me the other day that we are raising a generation of Boston sports fans that have no idea what these struggles are all about. My son (who happens to be 14) does not know the anguish of losing seasons, the pain of seeing Ray Borque traded away so that he could drink from the Stanley Cup. He does not understand the empty feeling in the heart of the late Ted Williams or The late Johnny Pesky. At least Johnny got to see and be part of the end of the curse. John Hannah, Andre Tippet and Steve Grogan, great Patriots who came so close in 1985. Cam Neely did not sip champagne as a player.
I know from which I speak, you see I was part of the last spoiled generation of Boston sports fans. I grew up just north of Boston in the 1980′s. In 1981, at the age of 12, I watched with my father as the Boston Celtics, lead by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish beat the Houston Rockets in six games. We hugged, drank soda, and a fanatic was born. 1984 was magical and the 1986 Celtics were unbeatable! To top it all off, in the calendar year 1986 all four of my pro sports teams made the playoffs.
As a Boston sports fan I lived and died with the teams, sure the Celtics were great in the 1980′s The Pats, Bruins, and Red Sox came close. (I just saw the Buckner play when I blinked my eyes). I just knew that Boston teams would contend every year right? The Patriots would get to another Superbowl and avenge their 46 – 10 loss to the Bears. The Bruins would beat those darn Oilers and bring a cup to Boston, And a World Series victory was close at hand.
The late 80′s saw an end to the big three, the tragic deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis signaled tough times ahead. I watched Cam Neely’s knees go bad and Bourque raise a cup in Denver. The Red Sox would go the next eighteen years before getting to the World Series in 2004. The Patriots went eight years between playoff appearances, until they got bad enough to draft Drew Bledsoe with the number one pick in the 1993 draft. Don’t even get me started on Rod Rust, Victor Kiam or Zeke Mowatt. Then came the long wait for my teams to be good again, for a sixth round draft pick to become Tom Brady, for Pedro and Schilling to excise the ghosts of the past. KG and Paul Pierce have restored Celtic Pride, and Tim Thomas, Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara brought us the cup.
SEVEN Championships in ten years….. Domination for the Boston Sports market.
A word to the wise of the next generation, It won’t always be this good. There will be years when you team won’t be a contender.
When you baseball season is all but over before Labor day.
When you are watching ping pong balls for your teams spot in the lottery.
When your not wondering how your football team will do in the playoffs before the season even starts.
Your favorite quarterback, small forward, centerfielder, and goaltender will not play forever, your teams will fall to the bottom of the standings for a few long, painful years.
Pro sports are built to be cyclical.
You will watch your teams rebuild, and at times it will seem like they will be bad forever, but when they rebuild and win.
It will taste even sweeter.