February 05, 2002

"Now I can die in peace": I know it's an ESPN article, but I thought this story was just a fantastic look into the heart/soul of a diehard fan who's team finally did it. "I don't think I've ever felt that way before. I mean, have you ever felt totally dumbfounded by something? Have you ever felt totally overwhelmed? I'm telling you, keep the faith, keep believing, keep supporting your team -- there's a slight chance that it might be worth it some day. Just trust me."

posted by owillis to football at 06:12 PM - 24 comments

That's a great article. It's very well-written and really captures the emotions of a diehard fan. And I'd call it "a great article that happens to be on ESPN," rather than "an ESPN article." Just because it's on ESPN doesn't mean it can't be a good article (but I'd agree that we generally want to stay away from ESPN's headlines).

posted by kirkaracha at 07:12 PM on February 05, 2002

From 1997 through last summer, Bill Simmons ran a sports weblog/opinion site called Boston Sports Guy. It developed a rabid following among Boston sports fans, because Simmons could write with passion and humor that had long since escaped most Boston newspaper writers.

Last summer, ESPN.com offered him the chance to take his Sports Guy gig national (minus the links and daily commentary, alas). It's great to see him earning his stripes in front of a wider audience, three times a week on ESPN.com's Page 2. Browse his column archive, or read this greatest hit that might bring tears to your eyes, as it did mine: Getting Deep Sixed [on Red Sox-Mets Game 6 1986]

posted by lock at 09:35 PM on February 05, 2002

another great story of patriots fans, from the new orleans Times-Picayune. (home of the bourbocam, heh)

posted by danostuporstar at 10:23 PM on February 05, 2002

wow. thanks guys. what great links.

posted by lescour at 11:43 PM on February 05, 2002

When the 'Skins and our sweet new modern-retro uniforms win the big one next year, I can write an article like that. Hehe...

posted by owillis at 11:51 PM on February 05, 2002

Brilliant. Dying in the fourth quarter. Just dying. I can't even talk about it. If you're a fan--truly a fan--you understand this awful feeling. Hats off to an emotional and honest piece (let's just admit it; we all love ESPN). Check out Bambino's Curse: Diary of a Red Sox Fan to get another insider's perspective on the Super Bowl victory.

posted by jacknose at 12:41 AM on February 06, 2002

While I'm admittedly only a fair weather Patriot/football fan- baseball is my real passion- it kind of stunned me when I fully realized today that this is the first time in my sports-enjoying life that a New England/Boston team has won a championship. The last one, the '86 Celtics, were both too dominant in that decade and too early (I was 11) for me to really notice them or get swept up in the thrilling "underdog" fever. My sports coming-of-age occured later that year, just in time to witness the heartbreak of the '86 World Series. I have to admit, being "Champions" is rather nice... :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:07 AM on February 06, 2002

owillis, get ready to win the Super Bowl! New uniforms = victory. (See Broncos, Rams, and Patriots.)

posted by kirkaracha at 02:01 AM on February 06, 2002

I wish someone with the appropriate academic resume would publish a paper on why team victories become personal victories for so many people. To me, at least, it seems that the most memorable moments in my life have been born of sports victories. I have a video of Indiana beating Syracuse for the NCAA chamionship. Every single time I see that Keith Smart jumpshot I break down into tears. Every time I see that lob Jim Harbaugh threw to the endzone against the Steelers I get sad. Other than the fact that I'm a sentimental sap, why is this so?

posted by ttrendel at 03:06 AM on February 06, 2002

I'm going to make the old lady read that article. She grew up in a house of mostly females, and her dad isn't a real sports fan or anything (not that there's anything wrong with that...) She has no clue as to why a goal by the Detroit Red Wings late in the game would provoke me to scream at the top of my lungs and turn somersaults all over the house, jumping up and down and throwing triumphant fists into the air. Or why I talk about my team as "we" instead of "them," or actually let the outcome of a game affect my mood.

posted by adampsyche at 07:58 AM on February 06, 2002

alas, I'm still waiting for my poor cubbies to do something. if the cubs ever actually win the world series (or the red sox i suppose) you're probably going to see a lot of this "now i can die in peace" sentiment.

posted by jnthnjng at 09:36 AM on February 06, 2002

ttrendel, it's not academic, but Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch" is an amazing analysis of why we relate to teams the way we do. Not to mention a great read.

posted by lock at 09:50 AM on February 06, 2002

jnth: yeah. My office is a couple blocks from Fenway, and while this whole Patriots thing is impressive, a Red Sox win would be... well, I certainly don't have the words for what Boston would do. I guess the guy who's van I walk past every day with the 'Boston Red Sox: 1918 World Champions' bumper sticker might have to get a new one. That would be a small but significant start :)

posted by tieguy at 10:53 AM on February 06, 2002

lock, I couldn't agree more about 'Fever Pitch.' Hornby is the first person who really gets the hate part of the love/hate relationship with your team correct. I spent my whole life wondering thinking I was a bad sports fan because I mostly Seethe over University of Texas football, now I know I'm not alone.

posted by pastepotpete at 12:36 PM on February 06, 2002

I can't decide, if the Red Sox did the World Series, if I'd want to be in Boston when they did, or if I'd want to be as far away as possible. And then there's the part of every Red Sox fan that wonders if winning would be anticlimactic, if every season after that would seem hollow or meaningless, like Buzz Aldrin felt after he came back from the moon. Regardless, as tieguy notes, the Patriots Championship and subsequent celebration would be absolutely dwarfed by the Caligula-esque pandemonium of a Red Sox win. The Patriots are a team to root for; the Red Sox are a freakin' religion...

posted by hincandenza at 12:58 PM on February 06, 2002

I third the recommendation of Fever Pitch. It's a great book, particularly if you're a sports fan, and it's really funny. I just recently discovered it was made into a movie in 1997. Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay.

posted by kirkaracha at 04:09 PM on February 06, 2002

hincandenza: I think I'd want to be there. I'll never really understand what it means to be a Sox fan, no matter how many years I live here*, but all I can say is 'that would be one hell of a party.' Yes, people would die [literally, heart attacks in bars all over the city] but otherwise... wild. There'd be no comparison to anything else I've ever seen, that's for sure.

posted by tieguy at 12:52 AM on February 07, 2002

I think Boston would go insane if the Red Sox were to win a World Series, but I think it would pale next to what would happen to the nation if the Cubs were to win one. Red Sox fans tend to be concentrated in the Boston area, but you can find a Cubs fan almost everywhere. Not only would Chicago be celebrating, but there'd probably be celebrations in most of the rest of the nation as well.

posted by joehyuk at 01:51 AM on February 07, 2002

I still don't know what a Sox series win would mean. I like to think that much of the inherent yankee (i.e., Northern) negativity would go away. At least for a week. All those great American novels and screenplays and compositions that are sitting in closets in Brockton and Burlington and Bangor (just kidding-- Mainers can't write) might come out of hiding once we know that failure isn't inevitable. As a neat intersection for this thread, Fever Pitch is being made into a movie (again). About Sox fans.

posted by yerfatma at 07:08 AM on February 07, 2002

Red Sox fans tend to be concentrated in the Boston area Not even close. First of all, they're "concentrated" in New England, but they're all over. Listen to an Orioles-Sox or Angels-Sox game some time: you'd be hard pressed to tell who was the home team from the fans. And those aren't the only places, just two of the more rabid. (Bias admission: I don't believe in the passion of Cubs fans. They show up, fill the stadium and get drunk no matter how bad the team is. Sox fans don't show up or fill the stadium if the team is horrible.)

posted by yerfatma at 07:11 AM on February 07, 2002

An honest question about Cubs fans: who do they hate? Anyone who has studied fanaticism of any type (usually political or religious) will tell you that a key component of truly high-level fanaticism is the hating of an out-group- some one or some group who can be used to intensify your fanaticism by providing someone to hate and blame when things go wrong. It's my belief the same applies to sports fanatics- if they don't have someone to hate, they really aren't at that top level of fanaticism, and it will tend to manifest itself in other way.
There are lots and lots of 'Yankees Suck' shirts around this town... who do the Cubbies hate that way?
Oh, and yerfatma: Sox fans show up no matter what. They may bitch and moan and groan really, really loud, but that hole in the wall is definitely full for every home game, and has been for ages. It's why the Sox can afford to play in such a tiny place- they have the highest average ticket prices in the league by a huge margin and people still show up, hell, high water, or even Dan Duquette.

posted by tieguy at 07:49 AM on February 07, 2002

I can't decide, if the Red Sox did the World Series, if I'd want to be in Boston when they did, or if I'd want to be as far away as possible. I, for one, will make the thousand mile journey should the red sox ever win the world series. Not only for me, but for my father who never got the chance. The patriots winning is great, but as everyone else has stated, nothing will be able to compare to the red sox getting over the hump. (and if for some reason I can't make it to boston, I'll be in new orleans with my sox hat.)

posted by justgary at 12:24 AM on February 08, 2002

yerfatma, perhaps you're right about the disapora of Sox fans, but I still think Cubs fans are more numerous. I've seen away games where the Cubs fans outnumbered the home team fans. I think this is at least partially due to WGN broadcasting Cubs games all over the U.S. I can't recall how many times I've met or heard of people who said they first started following the Cubs by watching them on TV. And while I'll admit Cubs fans are not the most knowledgeable or intellectual fans, or even at times, the most passionate, I truly believe every Cubs fan has a deep and abiding love for the Cubs that will always be there. It's just that, after so many years of heartache, we have to act nonchalant or we'd die of despair. Oh, and tieguy, while I disagree that you need to have an enemy to rally around, Cubs fans have plenty. The Mets, the Cardinals, the... well, pretty much every other team in the league. Not to mention most of the American League as well. There's even hatred (or maybe it should be called distain) for the White Sox. Heck, I'm still a little bitter to the Tigers for denying the Cubs a title in 1945. But hey, I respect Red Sox fans, and I definitely don't question their sincerity to their team. I think the best of all possible worlds would produce a Cubs-Red Sox World Series, that went into extra-innings in game 7. And that the Cubs won, of course.

posted by joehyuk at 05:20 PM on February 08, 2002

I think this is at least partially due to WGN broadcasting Cubs games all over the U.S. You hit the nail on the head. Same with the braves, who started calling themselves 'america's team' after ted turners superstation started broadcasting their games nationally. The redsox fans, at least the ones I've known and talked with, have their love of the sox passed down through generations. I know that's my case (and I'm sure is the case with a lot of cubs fans also). The cubs have rivalries, but the redsox/yankee rivalry might be the greatest in sports (american wise).

posted by justgary at 01:42 AM on February 09, 2002

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