Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dawn of a New Era

Important note before I get started on today's topic: thank you, everyone, for your very kind condolences on Ed's passing, and for your birthday wishes for Grant. I'm pleased to say that his semicentennial hasn't changed him noticeably; he's still the most infuriating husband I've ever had. I like to tell him this, as it is incontestably true; of course he is likely to retort with equal veracity that he's also the least infuriating husband I've ever had.

Today's topic is, believe it or not, sports. Yes, this is a knitting blog (no, really, it is), but I have no knitting to show you, and I have a problem.

When I was a kid I always rooted for the underdog and for the local pro sports teams, the Patriots and the Red Sox. In those halcyon days there was no conflict there. The Red Sox were like the boyfriend who always says "I'll call you," who brings you flowers and takes you dancing just when you'd almost managed to move on, who gets you flying so high through the brilliant, exhilarating blue that you can't get a deep breath... only to dump you, spectacularly and publicly, leaving you groping under a dim street light for the smithereens that used to be your heart.

No one who did not suffer through at least 30 of those roller-coaster years can truly fathom the abnormal psychology of the lifelong Red Sox fan. Grant, who considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool baseball aficionado, cannot understand my refusal to watch the close games, my constant dampening of expectations as the season progresses. For him a great baseball game is won by a score of 1-0, or perhaps 2-1 or 3-2, in the bottom of the 11th inning, after gritty and sometimes brilliant effort by both teams. The winner is less important than the quality of play. This attitude is foreign to me: as far as I'm concerned any game the Yankees win is by definition a bad one, especially if they beat the Sox, and all the more so if it drags on into nail-biting extra innings.

And the Patriots? The Patriots, better known as the Patsies, perennial denizens of last place throughout my childhood, did not even hold out false hope. Right from every season's beginning we knew that an early win, or two or three, portended not a championship at long last but at best a rise to mediocrity. Joke from the good old days:

Q: The Patriots got a touchdown? How did that happen?
A: The other team misread the clock, thought the game was over and left the field. Three plays later the Patriots scored.

How times have changed. The Red Sox are the reigning World Series champions (again!), the Patriots have the world's biggest target painted on their back, and I... have a problem. The Chargers, this weekend's victim, er, opponent, have never won a Super Bowl. The Packers, of course, are another story. Another elderly joke:

Vince Lombardi gets in bed with his wife one night. "My God, your feet are cold," she says.
"Honey," he sighs in exasperation, "how many times do I have to tell you? When we're alone you can just call me Vince."

But that was then, and this is now. The Packers are the only nonprofit, community-owned major-league pro sports team in the US. The Giants, who haven't won it all since 1991, are the oldest team in the NFL. Besides, how could you root against the perpetually overshadowed and second-guessed Eli Manning? To say nothing of the ageless and undeniably hot Brett Favre? (Not that I couldn't find room under my bed for Tom Brady's shoes, if you must know.)

This is not going to be easy.


  • I understand completely. But I still route local.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 7:58 PM  

  • I like the end of the season games, and have had the recent thrill of seeing the local teams win for the first time in what seems like ever. The Patriots (shhhh) have begun to seem to me like a machine. Well oiled, well practiced. But not hugely endearing. (shhhh, did I say that?). I can't decide if I want to see Eli against Tom or Brett against Tom... cute younger brother of the goony funny quarterback that beat the Patriots last year? Or cute old guy who probably won't play anymore? I heard a joke the other day... Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, and Tom Brady are in a car and die together. At the pearly gates god says to Peyton, so why should you get into heaven? And he says something along the lines of I tried hard, made some mistakes, tried to do my best with the team, etc. So god says, ok, you sit here on my right. Same conversation with Tony Romy, ok sit on my left. And then god says to Tom, well, what about you? And Tom says, I think you're in my chair. Which I found funny, and at the same time unfair, because Tom Brady does not seem like a conceited kind of guy. Hard working and focused, but not conceited.

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 8:07 PM  

  • i love how perfectly you describe the new england teams. the better they do, the more i expect them to horribly lose the next game. all this success is kind of overwhelming, but i don't really mind. i still root for the sox and the pats. during the world series someone said the red sox were the new yankees! finally they get somewhere and people pull out a low blow like that *head shaking* a game won by the red sox (or the patriots) is still a good game to me, and any game won by the yankees is (still) by definition bad. having been an underdog fan for so many years, i understand your dilemma - but i'll still be cheering for brady.

    By Blogger the boogeyman's wife, at 12:02 AM  

  • I'm with you, mostly. I cheer for my team, and then should they lose, I console myself by rationalizing the "deservedness" of the other team. Unless it's the Yankees.

    By Blogger Chris H, at 12:54 AM  

  • Very funny! But I still like the idea of a perfectly perfect season.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 9:21 AM  

  • I'm with Carole, but have you seen the Dolphins lately? My heart belongs to the Eagles.

    By Blogger Carol, at 10:28 AM  

  • like the others, i hear you. but i cheer local too.

    if the pats were whiny, or trash talking neanderthals i might feel differently, but they're a hard working team, with no prima donnas. they deserve to be where they are.

    and there are enough people out there hating them. they need all the support they can get.

    By Blogger maryse, at 11:19 AM  

  • I am soooooo torn between the local team that (finally) made good, and the team I have been rooting for since I was old enough to talk. Still, a repeat of '97 (perhaps with a different outcome) would be fine with me.

    By Blogger yakiduk, at 5:59 AM  

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