There really isn’t an aftermath to speak of. Boston isn’t burning. There isn’t wailing and lamentation in the Common. Folks have just kind of moved on.
The reasons for the collective shrugging of shoulders up in this part of the world are pretty abundant. We all know that the team isn’t going anywhere. The foundation of every excellent team (Offensive line, Defensive line, Quarterback) is in place and will be for years to come. The Kraft family is invested in the longterm success of the team and the facilities. The genius coach is still a genius coach. And the aging linebacker corps will get younger and faster next season (though I think everyone’s a little broken up about losing Bruschi and Seau). Over all, there’s a citywide sense that we’ll all be alright.
A friend of mine that doesn’t follow sports too closely told me that he was always surprised by how Boston fans were so opportunistic in terms of their demeanor. That is to say, once the Patriots (or any local team) lose, fans can move on to other things fairly quickly and not dwell in misery too long. I find such an assertion funny, because for my entire life up until 2004, you couldn’t say “Boston fans” without squeezing the phrase “long suffering” in. Nowadays, Boston fans are apparently seen as folks with an abundance of things to cheer about. So I did a little thinking on the matter, and I realized that perhaps this friend is right. I did a quick “pulse check” on the Boston Sports Scene as of this morning, and the results are in:
-The Red Sox won the World Series last season. Again. And they’re poised for another run with all of their returning talent. They’re so stocked, in fact, that the guy that tossed a no-hitter for them last year may not even be in the starting rotation. That’s the thing about Boston – lifelong fans have followed the Sox through hell for so many years that there is an irrepressible passion around every positive event. As such, there’s always something to cheer about, and the undercurrent of perpetual celebration tends to dull the pain. And when you stack a couple of World Series wins on top of that, it sets up the whole of New England for another decade of euphoria at least. By the way, Spring Training is only a couple of weeks away.
-The Celtics are 5-2 over their last seven, without Kevin Garnett. They’re 48 games into the season and haven’t lost their tenth yet. They just beat the Spurs because a guy named “Big Baby” was able to contain Tim Duncan for the whole game. And with the All Star Break giving Garnett a chance to rest and heal up, the expectations for the second half of the season are high.
-The Bruins haven’t been stinking up the Gardenas most folks expected. They’re 26-21-8 as of today and if the postseason started this second, they’d be in. Weird, huh?
-The Beanpot finals, which are a bigger draw that many outside of Boston realize, are happening tonight. The locals often think that the yearly BC/BU/Harvard/Northeastern tournament is our little secret, and are surprised every time that it’s mentioned on Sportscenter. I sure was this morning, and I’m going to the game tonight!
Overall, watching the Patriots go 18-1 instead of 19-0 hurt nearly everyone I know in this corner of the world. But the Boston Sports Scene is one of the richest, if not the absolute richest, in the country. We’ll soldier on. We always do. Nowadays.