We were spoiled. Let’s face it. We did deserve it, though. We went 86 years without a World Series. Before the holy trinity of Kraft/Brady/Belichick united, a Super Bowl was merely something for the Cowboys or Steelers or 49ers. Before the Celtics’ big 3 got together, we had known for years that the trio of Bird, Parish and McHale were not walking through the door. We were the loveable losers. Every once in a while Boston would get close, only to get clobbered in the end. The Sox in ’67, ’75, ’86 and ’03 stand out. Before the Patriots won their three Lombardis, they were beaten by Chicago and the Packers. No one felt sorry for the Celtics. They had 16 banners hanging from the rafters before their most recent win over the Lakers. To be honest, I’m not a big Bruins fan, although I am happy they currently reign as Stanley Cup Champs. So that was us. A mere annoyance to the Yankees. A minor obstacle to Jerry Buss’ club. Not even an NFL afterthought.
I go back to when Dick Williams was managing at Fenway. I vaguely remember Phil Bengston in Foxboro, but certainly remember the Chuck Fairbanks era. Tom Heinsohn ruled at the Garden, after a Hall of Fame career and before he started his thirty plus year run with Mike Gorman. While I was rooting for the likes of Yastrzemski and Plunkett, only Havlicek and, Cowens delivered.
The first decade of the twenty first century will forever be known as the Glory Days. We went from perennial losers to Title Town, USA. I dare say we began to take it for granted. My kids thought that this was the greatest place in the world to be a sports fan. They love teams that I love. Recently, they’ve gotten the cold reality that we endured for decades. This year has been hard. The September Swoon at Fenway. Titos’ dismissal. The 21-17 loss to the Giants on Sunday and the realization that Coach Bill is not a genius. Learning that Doc Rivers is only as good as his players. There’s a very brief, fleeting window for success. You only get so many chances. Very quickly you go from hero, to someone whose supermodel wife has to defend you from her luxury suite.
It doesn’t take long to get from the top of the heap to has-been. From the NFL’s leading pass catcher to Super Bowl goat. It’s frustrating, but it’s a part of life. Can the Sox rebound after their epic collapse of 2011? Will the Pats be able to re-tool, because as soon as Brady hangs up his cleats, let’s face it, all bets are off. Will Danny Ainge start selling off pieces to contenders? He was there the first time when Auerbach didn’t pull the trigger.
I guess the hard times just make you appreciate the good times more. I hope I’m wrong, but I get the sense that the hard times are just around the corner.