October 30, 2007
That's What Championships Are For
BY: Kevin Rousseau
After the Sox won on Sunday night, my wife turned to me and asked "Are you going to write one of those corny ‘That's What Friends Are For' columns?"
"Family and community, that's what we're all about," said my buddy Matt as we waxed poetic about the scene back in Boston from our perch in the upper deck at Texas Stadium during the Cowboys-Patriots game a few weeks ago. Like the writer, Mattie has a way of going a wee bit overboard with generalizations about things that he has a strong opinion about. But during this week of champions, his point is well-heeded.
During game four of the World Series Sunday night, a passing thought put the Red Sox run in proper familial perspective. My grandmother--God rest her soul--was born in 1919 and died in the spring of 2004. You can do the math on how many championships she saw her Red Sox win. My son Jake, on the other hand, turned three years old just a few days ago and now has two pennants hanging up in his room. Sure it was a little hokey when Tom Werner said that this championship was for the future generations, but I kind of got what he was getting at. You'll still see plenty of Red Sox merchandise adorn cemeteries all over New England in the coming weeks. "Hey Memeré, they won it again! I just came by to tell you the news. Can you believe it?" But equally as unifying is hearing the kiddos shout out "Red Sox. Yippee!" in a toddler's voice.
It's a tired thesis but more than just about any other force than I can think of, teams like the Red Sox and Patriots are a unifying force across generations and demographics. It's what makes you want watch this commercial from a sneaker company over and over again because you may know a guy like Donny Wahlberg who comes up to you at work and will say "I've got a question for ya," with a sturdy Boston accent as he wants to check your accounts receivable.
It's no picnic living around here some of the time. It costs a lot. The economy runs hot and cold. The roads are jammed up with people thinking that if they don't make it to their destination in 29 seconds their lives will end. The weather can play tricks on your mind year-round. It may be tempting to mail it in and move to down south or out west.
But then it would become a lot harder to have moments like the one on Monday morning when my good friend Mike stopped by my cubicle for the celebratory awkward male embrace after years of friendship and field trips to Fenway Park together. As time continues to roll by, it will be a defining moment of our relationship. Or maybe its looking at Billy during tailgate last Sunday and having a speech-less conversation because you've been around each other so long that you can save the breath.
Oh yeah, there's a Patriots team playing in the biggest regular season game in recent memory on Sunday. Just what Karma God did we win the good fortune of in these parts? The Pats will have the motivation to atone for a few things on Sunday. First, the devastating loss in January's AFC Championship game has been the motivation for 10 months. Then the League-wide piling on in the wake of Spygate (Tony Dungy included) has awoken the sleeping lion to the point of going for it on 4th down while inside the red zone while up 38-0 to a opposing coach for whom the lion holds a tremendous amount of respect for. Home field advantage for this January's AFC Championship game will also be determined on Sunday. And if you don't think that's a big deal, just take a look at the results of the last three times these teams faced off in the playoffs.
At some point in the future, NFL Films will wise up and make a documentary on the Patriots-Colts rivalry that has dominated this decade. It will have a piece on Tom Brady's first start in 2001 and the obligatory playoff clashes. It will have a bit on the goal line stand by the Pats in the RCA Dome a few years ago. And there will be a chapter on this game. If you can't get excited/nervous for this one, it's time to try Zen Buddhism for a hobby. How can you not invite some folks over to the house or get locked into a text messaging circle route during this game?
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