When we were younger, we lived and died by our Boston sports teams. Yes, the late Bill Russell and the Celtics provided more than a decade of joy and, for a short time, so too did Bobby Orr and the Bruins. But overall, being a Boston sports fan meant that there was more agony of defeat than thrill of victory.
Those big, bad Bruins are remembered as much for their 1971 loss to the hated and heavily-underdog Canadiens in Game Seven in the Garden as they are for Bobby Orr’s joyous Superman flight after his goal that won the Stanley Cup in 1970.
The Impossible Dream Red Sox of 1967 raised our spirits, only to break our hearts with a Game 7 World Series loss (yes, we were in Fenway), which was repeated in 1975 (we were in Fenway for that one too), and again in 1986.
As for the Patriots, we suffered through more than 40 years of frustration — at the old Braves Field, Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium, and then Schaefer Stadium — until Tom Brady came along and began a magnificent and magical run of almost 20 years of excellence. And yes, the Sox finally did come through for us in 2004, ”07, ’13, and ’18, literally bringing tears to our eyes.
But despite those successes in the 21st century, all of those earlier years of heartbreak and defeat during our youth created their own form of post-traumatic stress (and for the record, the last Pats’ game we’ve watched in its entirety was the 2008 Super Bowl game).
For those of us who have followed Boston sports for six decades, the early exit from the playoffs of the “best-team-ever” Bruins and the Celts’ collapse last week in Game 7 were all-too-predictable. As for the Red Sox and the Pats, it is clear that they are destined to be consigned to the realm of mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
So we’re happy that we’re no longer followers of Boston’s sports teams. To those who are, we can offer only this advice, “Be prepared for a lifetime of hurt.”