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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Boston rises, New York falls

Published: October 26, 2007
Section: Sports

New England-based sports teams have certainly experienced their highs and lows in years past. Through the years, usually at least one of the New England teams in the three major American sports (baseball, football, and basketball) is a highly competitive one. However, the past few years have been especially good for Boston. During my time at this university (since 2004), I have witnessed what will probably amount to a golden age for Boston sports, a period that has the potential to be one of the most successful eras for a single town ever.

It seems that every twenty years or so, this area is able to witness several historical moments within the sporting world. Take the fans who were following Boston sports in the mid-80s. They got to see the good and the bad: Bill Buckner, the Pats improbable run to their first Super Bowl appearance, Doug Fluties Heisman Trophy and improbable hail mary for Boston College, the contending Ray Bourque- led Bruins, and the Larry Bird years chronicled by the Celtics three NBA Championship victories. Teams full of superstarsRoger Clemens, Wade Boggs, and Jim Rice to name a fewand local heroes with names like Marty Barrett and Rich Gedman graced the city wearing Red Sox uniforms. Yet the Celtics were the only team to win it all even once. But expectations have changed since then.

Since the days of Bird, the Celtics have either been horrible, or have disappointed in the playoffs. The Patriots were erratic and unfortunate enough to be on the losing end of Brett Favres Packer dynasty. The Bruins were perennial first-round losers. The Red Sox were usually in contention, but failed to make it back to the World Series in an era dominated by their bitter rival, the New York Yankees. Boston had to deal with Aaron Boone, Rick Pitino, and horrible draft day decisions, plus the erraticness of Drew Bledsoe, and season after season of depriving Ray Bourque of a much deserved title.

But since 2001, Boston sports has spun a 180. Not only are Boston teams performing amazingly, they are winning or at least putting themselves into the position to do so. The Patriots have formed a legitimate dynasty by winning three titles in half a dozen years, and seem poised for another title run. They have the perennial winner and pretty boy Quarterback, Tom Brady, one of the most legendary coaches in the game, Bill Bellichick, and have tamed the outspoken, trouble-ridden superstar, Randy Moss.

Perhaps most memorably, the Red Sox miraculous comeback from a 3-0 hole against the New York Yankees in 2004 was unprecedented, and their recent 3-1 comeback to again reach the World Series only adds to the downright turnaround of the team. This eras Red Sox teams have included the sometimes larger than life figures that many call by only their first name: Pedro, Dice-K, Manny, and of course Big Papi, mixed with plenty of likable class acts like Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon and Curt Schilling. Instead of possessing a feeling that the team would inevitably lose, Red Sox players are now dancing around on the field like maniacs after another storybook comeback. Not only that, but theyre signing ridiculously large contracts, or winning numerous awards.

Even teams that have been relatively mediocre in the past few years show promise, with the Celtics acquiring superstars Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen for 2007, and the Bruins off to a strong start. Even Bourque got his title in 2001, in his final game (albeit with another team), but certainly, it was a moment that many Boston fans could cheer for. On top of all of the professional talent and recent accolades, Boston College is the second ranked team in the entire nation in college football this season. If things go right for many of these teams, Bostons reputation as a losing city could quickly go away for good.

It seems that the well chronicled years of memorable futility in Boston sports could easily be replaced by years of memorable success, something New England certainly isnt used to. To go to a university only miles away from all of this, at a time of such great success for teams in the area, has been quite the privilege.

Once I go back to my home state of Minnesota, it may be years (unfortunately for me) before Im able to claim that I lived in a town that achieved such great success from even one team. And who knows, after these few seasons, it might be a while before the Boston fans are again as lucky as theyve been.

Fans must realize that this kind of success is not the norm for any city, even one that has been cursed for years. As of late, it has been Boston that has bewitched its opponents. Maybe the luck of the Irish has finally started to turn in Bostons direction.