What It's Like to be a Boston Sports Fan

 Let’s just say, it’s been fun to be a Bostonian this week. I saw an article from the New York Times that called Boston fans from 2001-2018 — roughly the years of my life — the luckiest fans in sports history. What can I say? 12 victories since 2001. One for the Bruins, one for the Celtics, six for the Patriots, and four for my favorite, the Red Sox. I’m glad I’ve been part of this golden age of Boston sports.

This past year has been the most exciting, though. The Sox won the World Series in time for Halloween (the title picture my dad took at their parade), and then fairly soon after the playoff run for the Pats begun, and now we have another Super Bowl victory. What’s next?! Red Sox spring training does begin next week . . . 

In honor of our latest victory, I thought I’d share a few insights into Boston sports fans — some of our characteristics, some of our beliefs, and some of our habits. Maybe, instead of hating us, like I’m sure pretty much every non-Bostonian does this week, you can learn a bit more from this post why we are how we are. We’re not all bad — I promise!

1. We hate New York

We hate the New York Giants, but we really hate the New York Yankees. They stole Babe Ruth from us, they’ve been our rival pretty much since the start of baseball, and they always think they’re better than us...but when was the last time they won the World Series? People wearing Yankees hats in Boston have been beaten up, and whenever the team comes to Fenway Park, the crowd always breaks into our classic “Yankees suck” chant. But, in both baseball and football, some of our sweetest victories have come against New York, so, in a sense, the rivalry is fun.

2. L.A. should hate us

The “Beat L.A.” chant began with the Celtics and Lakers, and it escalated when they met in the Finals in 2008. The Celtics won, of course, and the phrase stuck. Sadly, L.A. beat us in the Finals in 2010, but, as everyone knows, the Red Sox beat the L.A. Dodgers for the World Series title last October, and the Pats plowed through both the L.A. Chargers and the L.A. Rams to win the Super Bowl. Sorry for continually breaking your heart, L.A.

3. We have high standards

Former Red Sox second baseman and current broadcaster Jerry Remy once said that coming back to Fenway after a rough few games on the road could be intimidating. Fans would boo them, and the players would know that the city was disappointed. Yes, we love our teams, but we will be the first to let them know if we aren’t pleased. I remember I went to the last Red Sox game of the year in 2012, which was one of the worst seasons in Red Sox history. As the game ended (with a loss), fans booed the players as they left the field. We have high standards in Boston, and our teams know that.

4. We will stay up until the end of the game

Whenever our teams are in the playoffs, in particular, we watch the entire game. Some games end quickly, but others go into overtime or extra innings. Game 4 of the World Series last October took 18 innings, and the American League Championship series against the Yankees in 2004 regularly lasted past midnight. Tom Brady and the Pats usually like to keep us on our toes and wait to score the winning touchdowns in the last few moments of the game. And the Celtics and Bruins, in their single titles from the 21st century, made us wait several games for the series win — but we watched it all!

5. We’ve waited a long time to be this good

Everyone thinks we’re spoiled, and maybe we are a bit. However, it took our teams a while to gain momentum. Before 2004, the Red Sox hadn’t won a title since 1918. Before 2011, the Bruins had only won twice since 1941. And before 2001, the Patriots hadn’t won at all. (The Celtics did have a good decade or two in the 60s and 70s when they were monsters in the NBA, but since 1986, we’ve only won once.) So, yeah, we may be in the golden age now, but we did our waiting—maybe your city is just in its waiting period now.

6. We will never miss a parade

Every time one of our teams wins a title, Mayor Walsh determines a day for the players to ride duck boats through Boston. It’s magical. A sea of blue and red, or green, or black and yellow fills the streets, and everyone takes the day off from school or work. It’s almost like a state-wide holiday. These championships happen often enough that we know the routine—the best places to stand, what types of signs to make — but they aren’t so often that we ever miss one. We know from our teams, the Sox in particular, that it could be another several decades before we get the chance again.

7. Sometimes our teams represent more than just sports

In 2013, for example, the Boston Marathon bombings shook the city. Everyone knew someone who got hurt, and everyone had their own connection to that tragic event. A few days after the bombings, everyone in the stands at TD Garden sang the national anthem together before the Bruins game. David Ortiz gave his famous profane speech at Fenway about staying strong. And then in October, the Red Sox won the World Series and laid the championship trophy on the Marathon finish line during the parade. In 2013, our teams meant more than just sports. They brought us the joy we were missing, and they helped bring us together during a moment of struggle. We all were — and still are — grateful for our teams that year.

8. Our hearts beat for our teams

Yes, we have high standards, but in the end, we really do love these teams. Their losses deeply hurt us, and their wins elate us. I remember when I was younger, I’d cry every time the Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs, or — worse — when they made the playoffs and a bone-headed play eliminated them. And when the Pats lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl last year, the room was silent for a good 10 minutes before anyone could speak. We really care about our teams. They’re our joys, our sorrows, our hearts.