Tuesday, August 01, 2006

everybody's got their dues in life to pay

I admit I always get a kick out of Assffleck schadenfreude, so I found the gossip today particularly amusing. At the same time, it reminded me of my love-hate relationship with the Red Sox. Actually, scratch that- it reminded me of my love-hate relationship with Red Sox fans.

Really, is there any more hated fan in sport? On the one hand, these are diehard fools that have hoped against hope, and those hopes have actually prevailed. That would be a pretty story. And the Red Sox were my home team growing up, so technically, I should be one of those fans. Except...

When the Patriots won one of their Superbowl titles, at the ticker tape parade in Boston, a spontaneous chant of Yankees Suck! broke out. Also, when I lived in that city, holy mother of g-d did it get annoying to hear these people start in with the this is going to be their year chatter. Also, these guys will turn on your a$$ like nobody's business. Whenever anything goes wrong with the Red Sox, the fans verbally lynch someone into the realm of cruel and unusual punishment.

Since I quickly grow weary of drama, I tired of the Red Sox long ago. That is why I grew up as a loyal Patriots fan. These guys did not disappoint. Or rather, they consistently disappointed. When Steve Grogan was QB, you were never fooled into thinking these guys had a shot at much of anything besides a post-season vacation. Okay, there was that one year against the Bears, but even then, they pretty much knew we were going to get clobbered.

And when they're on, they're all the way on. These guys are the anti-Red Sox: when it's clutch time, there is no Bill Buckner-esque bumbles. Sure, their star has fallen since losing Romeo Crenell. Still, the Pats are a reliable team. They might not make magic, but they are that good buddy you can count on for a beer on a Friday night.

My cousin got me the hat in the picture below. It's beaten and bruised at this point, but it's still the only cap I ever wear, on those rare occasions that I tame the mess that is my hair. I have worn it through some tough journeys:

Now, I know that it is weird because a baseball cap should feature, well, a baseball team. But I am still always surprised at how often this cap starts conversations in the Bay Area. When I have been on hikes, people have stopped me and asked me if I am from Boston. This is pleasant enough, but a few weeks ago, I got heckled. AL was off doing his thing at this beer festival, and two dudes saw my hat. The familiar grins appeared, and I prepared myself- here comes the remark.

"BOO!" they yelled at me. I know I am not on the right turf to be defending my home team, so I always try to take these things in stride. I smiled good-naturedly and this seemed to goad them on further. But here's where I cracked up. They yelled: "You're not in Red Sox country anymore! Go Giants!!"

My friends, non-New Englanders, all laughed along with the two dudes. But I rolled my eyes. I dropped my head and pointed to the hat. "Dudes, shouldn't you be talking about the Raider Nation?" I asked. They were thoroughly unphased. It was not a combative exchange. But it demonstrated to me that either the world lives to take a Red Sox fan down, or baseball fans are perhaps a wee self-involved.

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