Tag: Boston College

[Business Day One] The Rough Stuff

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Only one good thing happened in my sports life this weekend – The Giants beat the Cowboys. Eli looked sharp and didn’t do anything silly, and the defensive line put pressure on to force interceptions. Beautiful win by one of the two best teams in football – reminded me of my youth in Jersey during the Phil Simms era.

Unfortunately for me, Boston College lost, the Patriots lost and my fantasy football team is about to lose it’s third straight. It was enough to drive me to yoga. I needed to center myself and control my delirious rage, and it was a lot of downward dogs and shavasanas. By the way, “shavasana” means corpse pose. I found it appropriate after I started feeling like BC’s season is dead.

The good is never worth the bad as a sports fan. Losses hurt more than wins sooth. Yet we always come back. Even those that say “to heck with it, I’m done with sports” are back at the beginning of the next season. All the moaning in Chicago this offseason is worth nothing, since the crowds will return to Wrigley as they always do. My deep lamentations over my beloved BC Eagles will wash away in time. That’s just how it is. No matter how rough the rough stuff is, we march through it in the hopes that it’ll end.

This is what I need to remind myself, and this is what you all need to remind yourself of. If you’re not ready for the brutality of investing yourself in something that you know will hurt you, you’re not ready to be a sports fan.

[Business Day One] Boston College, Week 1


I had it all planned out. I called a month in advance to make sure that the bar in Portland, Maine would be playing the Boston College-Kent State tilt. Once I arrived in the beautiful coast city, I went to the bar three hours before kickoff and to confirm, in person, that it would happen.

Of course, the plan fell through. The first casualty of war is always the plan. So instead of sitting down in a nice Irish pub to watch my beloved Eagles take on the Golden Flashes, I spent the next half hour dragging my girlfriend around the Old Port section of town looking for a bar that was playing the game. Mercifully, a place called Rivalries took care of us and I spent the next three hours cheering my team along to a penalty-free 21-0 win.

This got me to thinking. I want to know what your best “I tried to go to a game, but” story is. Were you screwed over by a scalper? Did you miss a flight? Car break down? What’s your best story?

[Business Day One] Winning and Losing


On Saturday night, the Boston College men’s hockey team beat Notre Dame to capture the national championship.  As an alumni, obsessed fan and former mascot, this pleases me greatly.  But I wasn’t as absolutely thrilled as I thought I’d be.  For the past two years, the BC team had their season ended with a championship game loss.  Accordingly, for the past two years, I was crushed.  Just flat out crushed.  Hockey is our sport.  We own hockey.  Yes, BC has a perennial Top 25 football team and a basketball team that makes the tournament most years, but hockey is our thing.  We pull the best recruits in and usually win three times as many games as we lose.  And so getting to the finals of the Frozen Four and losing is agony.

And that got me thinking.  When you love a team, losing hurts far more than winning heals.  When the Yankees won the World Series a few times in the 90s, I was thrilled each time.  But since, each early playoff exit hurts me like having an old wound throb.  When they won, I celebrated for a nighta and woke up the next day feeling good.  But when they lost, I was out of commission for a whole weekend.  It seems hardly fair.  Why is the human mind so geared towards wallowing in heartache and so ill-prepared for good fortune?

I was focusing on this so much that the taste of victory started losing its zest.  I began to dwell on how bad it would’ve been to lose.  If Notre Dame beat us, it would’ve been entirely unacceptable to BC diehards.  They would be calling for Coach Jerry York’s head.  Their message boards would be alive with lamentations over the end of hockey dominance in Chestnut Hill.  I began feeling as if I had just survived a plane crash instead of feeling like I witnessed my alma mater win a championship.

What a terrible way to live.  Happiness is fleeting and the default mode of the sports fan is crushing disappointment.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  I wish I had an answer but I don’t.  Though I suppose it beats staying home alone.



Nerds on Sports correspondents Serpico and myself watched BC win a nail-biter in overtime, 6-5, to take the Beanpot from those upstarts at Harvard. Watching hockey in that quiet interlude between the Super Bowl and the start of spring training inspired us to post some frequently asked hockey questions (FAH-Q).

Q: Why does the NHL draft work different from NFL or NBA drafts?

Serpico mentioned that John Muse, BC’s frosh goalie, started this year only because BC’s prior goalie was drafted straight out of BC. In the NHL, players can be drafted while still in college … but they get to complete their education and then play. “What a remarkable system,” I said. “Why can’t football or basketball work the same way?”

We came up with two theoretical answers:

(1) Despite its violence, there’s less chance of career-ending injury in a year of hockey than a year of football. No team would be willing to waste a draft pick on a running back who could easily snap an ankle in week 9.

(2) Multiply that by the many millions of dollars that basketball and football are worth. Hockey’s popular, I guess, but it’s not the same kind of business. Franchises can only afford those kind of risks in the NHL. And maybe lacrosse.

Q: Is a zamboni technically a ‘vehicle’?

Apparently not:

A judge ruled the four-ton ice rink-grooming machines aren’t motor vehicles because they aren’t useable on highways and can’t carry passengers.Zamboni operator John Peragallo had been charged with drunken driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown told police the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards.

Police said Peragallo’s blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. A level of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in New Jersey.

Peragallo appealed, and Superior Court Judge Joseph Falcone on Monday overturned his license revocation and penalties.

In other news, at least one citizen of New Jersey named “Falcone” is on the right side of the law.

Q: Why is the Eastern Conference Championship called the Prince of Wales Trophy?

Even the most dabbling of sports trivia fans knows that the NHL trophy is known as “Lord Stanley’s Cup.” But why is the Eastern Conference Championship – which the Bruins haven’t won since 1990, I might add – known as the “Prince of Wales Trophy”?

The easy answer is because Edward VIII, Prince of Wales donated it to the League in 1924. British royalty has had an odd fascination with the game of hockey for more than a century, starting with Governor General Stanley’s creation of a “challenge cup” for the best amateur Canadian ice hockey team in 1893. The cup followed the National Hockey Association when it merged with several other leagues to form the NHL in 1917. When the teams were originally divided up, Boston (and the Northeast) played in what was called the “Wales Division.” Hence the cup’s name and origin.

Q: How’s Richard Zednik doing?

After taking a skate blade to the carotid, Florida Panthers player Richard Zednik was rushed to Buffalo General Hospital*. He’s stable but shaken. The Florida Panthers’ organization would like to thank the medical staff at Buffalo General, the Buffalo Sabres organization, the staff at HSBC stadium and all the loyal hockey fans who kept Zednik in their thoughts.

Q: Does Harvard even have a mascot?

Harvard’s mascot is The Man, an officer in full riot gear. His only known cheer is to glare through a tinted visor at the opposing team’s bench and ominously thwack a baton into his open palm.

Q: Is the Beanpot a big deal in Boston?

Let me put it this way: I saw more people scalping tickets outside a non-conference hockey rivalry than I did at the Celtics game I went to a month ago – and unlike Harvard, the Celtics are doing well. As Serpico put it, the Beanpot brings together four Boston area schools all within a thirty minute train ride of each other. That’s classic rivalry fuel. See it if you can – it’s a hell of a thing.

Also: let’s go Eagles.
* They were playing in Buffalo; this wasn’t an oblique attempt to prolong his agony.

[Business Day One] Concerning Boston

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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 He graduated, again.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:  Read More

[Business Day One] Ho Ho Ho!

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I’m still sad from the weekend. I’m not delirious with rage, or throwing darts at a picture of John Swofford or lamenting a broken system with stunning poetry. I’m just sad. Oh well, at least my Boston College Eagles will get to relax in sunny Orlando over the holidays. I need to take whatever I can get.

Hey Look, It's Santa!Anyway, I’m not here to write about this. I don’t want anyone here to see me cry at my desk. Instead, I want to talk about Christmas.

We all still believe in magic, especially around this time of year. Even the most steadfastly secular and reasonable among us can still be overwhelmed by heart-quickening memories of holidays past. We can recall the excitement of seeing presents that appeared (out of nowhere!) under the tree, and that feeling we got when we were certain we heard reindeer on our roof. We have that specific moment when we were first told that Santa wasn’t real inked in our mind, right alongside the memory of us absolutely insisting that he was to the foolish non-believer.

Sure we’re grown-ups now. And we know there isn’t a toy factory on the North Pole or Rudolph with his nose so bright. But one thing I learned as a grown-up is that Santa is real. I’m serious. He exists in the harried expression of a parent trying to figure out what video game to get. He exists in a doting grandma’s car as she circles the mall looking for parking. He exists when dad gets up in the middle of the night to eat the carrots his daughter left out so she thinks that Dasher and Dancer did. So yes. Santa exists. But what doesn’t exist is free magic. Grown-ups know this. In fact, I think that’s the big difference between children and grown-ups. The adults among us know that miracles cost money. That video game wasn’t cobbled by elves, it was bought by your mom. That your stocking wasn’t stuffed by St. Nick in your living room, it was stuffed at Walgreen’s. And that no one is going to magically jump down your chimney and give your team Johan Santana for free. It’s going to cost you. Read More

Mascots Are Everywhere


Baldwin the Boston College EagleRecently the internet pipe trucks have been full of mascot news and stories, and I’m not one to buck the trend. But before I get into the links I have a story. Back in my college days, I had a terrible job. (Well, maybe job isn’t the right word because the only “payment” I received was a pair of pants. And not good pants, maroon warm-ups — like the athletes that are sitting on the bench wear.) So, back in college I had this terrible work-like activity I did.

I didn’t gain any recognition for what I did, but everyone got to see me (sometimes even on TV). I had to work at random hours. I was punched by kids of all ages, but I also got my picture taken with even more kids. I did get to wear cool credentials that gave me access to the secret underground tunnels. Sometimes there was even some free food. I had to ride in a bus with either the cheerleaders or the band. It was my choice, but how do you make that choice? On one hand, you have some decent looking women who are completely vapid and only want to talk about which members of the football team they’ve slept with. On the other hand, you have a group who barely dates outside the group and have limited social skills. (I usually went with the band — a nerd really can’t fault someone too much for their social skills.)

I was Baldwin, The Boston College eagle. Read More

[Business Day One] Making Peace With Obsession

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What do we do when our team is playing?  Are you the strong and silent “do not disturb me unless it’s with pertinent statistics” type?  Are you the “everyone wearing my colors gets a high five” type?”  Do you watch it at home or at the sports bar?  Do you make specific plans to watch your game that take precedence over any items in your day planner?  Is your life on hold until the last out or the final whistle?

Well then you’re a fan.  A beautifully obsessed fan.  And don’t you ever feel ashamed of it.They get it.

Folks that truly love sports often feel the need to defend themselves to others.  Every sitcom that has ever been on television has had a Wife’s Upset Because The Husband Is Missing Something To Watch The Big Game episode.  And as trite as the recycled jokes are, they are a constant reminder of the division between Sports Fan and Sports Bystander.  I don’t believe this division can ever be fully bridged, so I put the call out to all of you to stop trying.  Your friends and loved ones will either get it or they won’t.

Accept the fact that folks with think that you’re weird for wearing your lucky (and unwashed) shirt every Saturday, or spending twenty minutes in a costume store looking for the proper hue of face paint, or debating your friends endlessly on whether to get beef ribs or babybacks for a tailgate that is months away.  You’re just as odd to them as they and their non-caring ways are to you.

On Saturday night, I left a birthday party to sit in my car and listen to the last five minutes of the Boston College/Clemson game.  Two of my friends (a diehard Spurs fan and a well-informed Pats/Sox fan) came out there to join me – they knew the struggle.  One of them held my hand as Clemson lined up for the game-tying field goal.  They cheered along with me when it fell short.  My mother called me thirty seconds later to congratulate me.  These are folks that get it.  Many folks do not.

Trying to talk someone into being a sports fan is like trying to convert someone to your religion.  It is ugly, exhausting and likely futile.  As right as you believe you are for wanting to pull for your team on your couch with your buddies instead of going to a family reunion two states over (or a neice’s ballet recital or to look at new drapes or whatever), you’re not going to gain a convert.  Folks either get it or they don’t.

So, obsessors, be proud of who you are but realize at the same time you are not always going to convince others you’re entirely sane.  Oh well, what they heck do the doubters know anyway?  Some are just oblivious to the wonders of competition.

Keep the struggle alive, fellow fans.  And Go Team!