Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics Envy

Almost the trifecta of championships, eh? Eli Manning doesn’t make that escape, David Tyree doesn’t make the greatest catch in Super Bowl history, and New England wins three straight major sports championships.

The fun part is browsing through the comments sections on the national sports sites, reading all the deeply resentful people from other parts of the country, complaining about how classless the Celtics/Red Sox/Patriots are, how classless the fans are, how happy they are when our teams lose – it’s the refs, it’s all fixed, it’s all luck, blah blah…and you know it’s mostly envy.

Not that the accusations are completely without merit, of course. Bellichek has some jerk qualities, and whatever the full story on cameras turns out to be and however much effect or non-effect it has had on the outcome of games, he clearly broke rules he knew about. Would the Patriots have been a bad team without that boost? Doubtful. Would they have won all those championships? Maybe, maybe not.

The Red Sox have some annoying people, just like every team does. Boston fans – New England fans, can be boorish and arrogant, sure. I’m not sure they are more boorish and arrogant than any other team’s fans that win. I remind the reader of the riots in other cities when teams won championships. There is some reason for the rest of the country to hate us. Some of the criticism is justified. But. Boston fans, you know with a certainty that much of the resentment comes from the mere fact that we won and they didn’t. That other stuff is just scrambling for justifications, because no one wants to admit that they hate you just because you’re successful.

New England and especially Massachusetts, are among the most politically liberal areas of the country. A lot of those Boston fans who know in their gut that they are hated more from envy than from anything they have done to deserve it, nonetheless refuse to understand this about the larger world they live in. These are the folks who believe that America is hated because of our foreign policy, because we exploit everyone, because of George Bush, because of our arrogance.

Not really. Those negative things are partly true, of course, and we shouldn’t go to the other extreme and discount all criticism. But the European elites hate us because we have rescued them, protected them, created the consumer goods and medical techniques they love, and it is too painful to admit that. Middle Eastern countries hate us because we are rich. Because they have contributed nothing to the world for about 7 centuries except the oil they happen to be living over, they must find ways to delegitimise our success. It should be theirs. They deserve it. We must have cheated somehow.

So remember that when you go to the polls Sox fans, Pats fans, Celts fans. You know in your gut the real reason that the rest of the country resents you, and now you know why the world resents America, and rejoices in our losses. Don’t fall for the excuses again.


@nooil4pacifists said...


Basketball is my least favorite professional game, and I'm no longer a New England sports fan (for many of the reasons you mention), but I watched and enjoyed last night. I was rooting for the Celtics: for KG, for Red, and for years of bad ping-pongs. Congrats to you and New England.

I never would have made the connection between Boston and Blue-State fans your post elucidates, but on reflection, I think it apt. How can we encourage the same self-awareness among Duke fans?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Duke would be an excellent comparison.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the arrogance of Boston fans, I read a column by a Philadelphia sportswriter about the annual invasion of the "Bawsten" fans into the city of brotherly love. He used the word obnoxious. I went to Baltimore to see the Red Sox in May. It was an enjoyable trip. However, I did try to step back and observe the Boston fans who descended on Baltimore those two days in May and I have to agree. I wore my 10 year old classic Red Sox hat (dark blue with a red "B"). The average "Sawx" fan in the crowd had their Ortiz or Ramirez shirt and acted like they were in their own home ballpark. I cheered for the Red Sox respectfully and let the Orioles fans do the cheering when their team did well, but in general, I would concur that the "road warrior" Red Sox fans who invade the visiting ball parks are obnoxious. The reputation is well earned and will only go away when the teams are no longer at the top of the heap.

Congrats, Celtics. As the AVI and I are the same age and grew up when Celtics championships were commonplace and news only on the sports pages, this one was sweet!

Ben Wyman said...

I root for Duke simply because everyone hates them. I think there are legitimate reasons to hate a team (the Yankees spend more money than any other American sports franchise) and non-legitimate ones (everybody likes them, so I hate them). Duke consistently gets the best players because they're always committed to winning and being one of the best college teams, but someone has to be the bad guy. Ditto Notre Dame.

I run into Boston hatred from time to time, but a huge portion of it is just that there are a lot of Red Sox/Celtics/etc. fans out there, and not that many Astros/Rockets/etc. fans. Smaller teams hate the bigger teams, and they hate us more when we win.

Anonymous said...

It's rather interesting, upon recollecting now, that when the Florida Marlins won the World Series - they were fabulous ... but almost no one cared, and in fact only hoped they could get some of the key players from the mass sell-off afterwards. And when the Rays are on top, it's viewed as Boston and NY not living up to standard. So it's easy to see why the big guys are despised - that when the little guys win, it's merely chalked up us a non-event and aberration nothing more.

bs king said...

Your post swerved on me. I definitely didn't expect the end connection there.

I was in DC a couple of months ago and someone was giving me a hard time about loud obnoxious Red Sox fans who didn't know anything. I merely looked them and said "Um, I've been cheering for the Red Sox since the day I was born. We lost a lot for a long time....actually, I really hate those sorts of fans too." They were stunned as I explained to them that Boston had some hardcore fans, that we all felt very relieved when we won, and the ones who rubbed it in others faces were probably not long term someone who puts up with that much losing is more likely to react by just saying "oh thank God" than anything else. It was weird how groundbreaking that seemed for them.

Which is kind of like how groundbreaking it is for people when I make the point (that I'm fairly sure I swiped from you) that if supposedly educated Europeans hate us for electing George Bush, and the information was well publicized that he didn't win the majority either time, well then, they're either not so very educated or they were trying to hate us anyway, right?

It's easy to know how long Boston fans have suffered. To act like we've been insufferable for years (like soooooooooome teams in New York I could name) is willful ignorance. Ditto to thinking that all Americans think anything in unison politically.

Good post. I like it.