Boston is rich with history, bursting with natural beauty and abundant in culture. But when one of the local teams is in-season — and when is at least one of them not? — the city is known as one thing: the ultimate sports town.Picture the stereotypical Boston sports fan. They’re easy to spot, decked out in the familiar outfit of a Red Sox hat, a Bruins T-shirt and a Patriots tattoo. Add in the accent — dropped “R’s” and an inability to pronounce the letter “O,” as in “Sawx” — and the image is easy fodder for a Saturday Night Live sketch. But add an incomparable winning streak to the mix that has seen all four major franchises win championships in the last decade, and it becomes something else entirely.
With winning comes confidence. With confidence comes a loud voice. From there, it’s a quick trip to outright obnoxiousness and, long story short, we’re not an especially popular bunch these days. We’ve also been called arrogant and self-absorbed, both of which are accurate. We just don’t care. This is the hub of the universe, after all.
This was true before the championships started rolling in, and it will be true long after the Duck Boat parades come to an end. Our teams have been an integral part of our identity for as long as they have played, and we’re not about to let outsiders ruin the party.
Take this fall’s historic Red Sox collapse. Locals are angry not just because their team lost but also because the players didn’t live up to their end of the bargain. They played like the Bad News Bears on the field and acted like Bluto, Otter and the gang in the clubhouse. We have standards here.
Everyone, everywhere claims that sports are different in their towns. Whether it’s New York’s affected superiority, Philadelphia’s bloodthirsty barbarians or L.A.’s celebrity-driven crowds, sports across the country reflect a region’s ethos. It’s no different in Boston, but winning doesn’t define us. For that, you have to dig a little deeper into the relationships we’ve forged with our teams.