First, a little history:
Eight years ago, the Patriots were in disarray, and tried to solve it by hiring a man who had failed as a head coach once before and stabbed his previous employer in the back. And for the previous four decades, the Patriots had been more of a joke (Victor Kiam, anyone?) than Super Bowl threat.
Four years ago, the Red Sox were still licking their wounds from the umpteenth time the Yankees played Lucy to their Charlie Brown, pulling the ball away at the last moment. Aaron F'ing Boone had earned his place alongside Bucky F'ing Dent.
Just last year, the Celtics were in the middle of an embarrassing 18-game losing streak, openly giving away games in hopes of landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. This was a fitting end to a two-decade run as a middling-to-awful team with an incompetent front office and absentee ownership.
We are reserving judgment on the Bruins, who are adept at playing well enough in the first few months of the season to give rise to playoff hopes before spending February and March forgetting how to skate. And Jeremy Jacobs still owns the team, which will forever prevent them from becoming real winners.
Now, the present:
The Patriots are on a nearly unprecedented run of success as the favorites to win a fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons. The Red Sox are having an amazingly quiet offseason after winning their second World Series in four seasons. And the Celtics can't send enough Thank You notes to Kevin McHale while looking like the team to beat in the East (and then lose to the Spurs -- or Suns, or Mavs, etc. -- in the NBA Finals).
I hope that gives everyone a little perspective on what it is like to be a Boston sports fan. Not so long ago, we were backing the loveable losers and the laughingstocks. We could only dream of one of our teams winning a title (that 1986 Celtics banner was getting a little dusty). Now Babe Ruth (and his fraudulent curse) can rest in peace. Foxboro Stadium -- a.k.a. Schaeffer Stadium, Sullivan Stadium, that dank pit along Route 1 -- is a parking lot next to Bob Kraft's crowning glory. And the Garden is rocking again!
As quickly as this began, it could end. Listen up, Boston brethren -- enjoy it! We won't be on top of the world for long. Sports can be cruel, and it wouldn't take much to return Beantown to irrelevance (or, at least, mediocrity). Many of our fellow fans have forgotten what it is like to follow teams whose seasons ended before the playoffs, no chance to enjoy watching champagne showers, confetti littering the field and trophy presentations that we actually care about. Perspective is a foreign concept, and they give the rest of us sensible-minded folk a bad name.
So before you hit these boards with another clever taunt for Miami fans, or a diatribe on why the Yankees are ruining baseball or the latest rant on why Philip Rivers is so cocky, think of us. Especially those of us who have ventured beyond New England's borders and have to deal with leers and jeers when we leave the home wearing that wonderful Pat Patriot hat.
And a message for non-Boston fans: We will be out of your hair soon enough. The Patriots will eventually lose (though hopefully not until 2012 or so) and the Red Sox will falter some October. Then it's payback time. Lash out at us, taunt, joke, do your worst. Because the worst among us will deserve it. And the rest of us can take a few barbs tossed our way without having to start thermonuclear message-board wars.