Stop Asking Boston Sports Fans To Admit That They Suck
Dear Sports Community,
During a recent whirlwind radio spot, I was baited into admitting that "Boston fans are kind of the worst." The question was posed and I sort of tacitly agreed, but with the caveat that it's just what happens when fans experience this much success.
I regret phrasing it that way, because I believe my point was lost. So now it's time to clear things up.
When I first moved to Los Angeles from Boston three-and-a-half years ago, I was bombarded with one very real fact: people hate Boston sports fans. Even if they don't know any, they hate them. Even if their teams don't play Boston teams, they hate them.
That didn't surprise me so much. I was a little thrown by how many people actively hated Boston sports and the fans. I assumed that the dislike existed, but more in a passive 'oh they're on TV and I'm definitely not rooting for them' way.
That's definitely not the case.
In fact, hating Boston sports has become more important to some people than rooting for the teams that they actually like. And you know what? I can respect that. I remember a time when being a pathetic Red Sox fan meant deriving most of your pleasure from viscerally despising the Yankees.
What surprised me was how many people wanted me - a Boston fan born and bred in Massachusetts - to agree that we suck.
I can't tell you how many times a week I engage in a conversation in which someone wants me to admit that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are lying cheaters, or that David Ortiz doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. They want me to validate their opinion by agreeing that no other fan base would ever become as entitled as the Boston fans have become.
'Come on Tanya, admit it, Boston fans are whiny, ungrateful garbage-people who worship a ball deflator and a Sith Lord.'
Um, excuse me?
When has asking people to shit on the things they love ever actually worked? Why would I agree with your theory that my hometown is full of morons? Literally 90% of the people I love and care about currently live in New England and rep those teams.
I don't ask you to like my teams or my city or my friends and family, so don't ask me not to. Stop asking me to entertain a conversation that requires me to vilify a group of people that I'm a part of.
Boston isn't North Korea. If you don't like the Patriots or the Celtics or the Red Sox or the Bruins or the god damned Revolution then that's fine. But if you think anyone in the greater New England area is obligated to share that opinion, or to make you feel good about it, then you clearly don't understand anything about being a sports fan.
You go on Twitter, radio and TV and disparage Boston teams and tell Boston fans that we suck and that our sports heroes are frauds, then act like we're the maniacs when we get overly defensive. If you tell people that they suck, they don't normally just sit down and take it. And if you tell them they suck when they're winning, you are inviting them to remind you how superior they are.
Belichick and Brady are taking the Patriots to a seventh Super Bowl together. SEVEN. That should be impossible. Even if Belichick had stolen every playbook and taped every signal in every game since 2000, that should be impossible. You don't cheat your way to seven Super Bowls.
And if you think that the NFL is set up in such a way that you can cheat your way to seven Super Bowls, then why do you even bother watching anymore? Just give up. Move on to a league with parity, like the NB... oh, wait...
Asking Boston sports fans to shut up and make you feel better about your losing teams, and to substantiate your cheating conspiracies, is absolutely bonkers. We are not the people to ask that of. We don't owe you that. Asking us to agree with you goes against the very nature of being a sports fan. In fact, if we did agree with you, we'd be labeled sell-outs.
Yes, Boston fans are spoiled. Yes we are superior. Yes we are defensive. There is no world in which any city that loves sports as much as Boston does wins that many championships and doesn't become all of those things. Sports fans are crazy people. You'd have to be crazy to love strangers that much. So it's time to put that little narrative to bed.
Now I will stand up against racists, sexists, xenophobes and homophobes in Boston. I will reject the loud minority who troll the internet looking for fights. I will admit when fans have taken things too far, or when they need to shut up and let things play out.
But I will not tell you that Boston fans suck.
Most of the people in my life have been fans of these teams their whole lives. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl when I was a freshman in high school. I was a junior when the Red Sox broke the curse. I cried when Paul Pierce finally won a ring with the Celtics. I was working my first TV job and was just a year out of college when the Bruins won one of the best NHL Finals I have ever watched.
The memories and experiences I have had as a fan of Boston sports are sacred to me, and I'm entitled to defend them. That's what makes it worth being a fan.
So please, feel free to say what you want. You should hate us. You're supposed to, and I will never try to stop you. However if you're looking to have your feelings legitimized, you need to go to someone else.
Now if you'll please excuse me, we have another Super Bowl to go win.
Tanya Ray Fox
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