This week, Daily Campus Sports is celebrating both the highs and the lows of invested fandom with a series of personal articles telling the stories of our sports memories. This is Fandom Week.
It’s been about 17 years since Tom Brady took down “The Greatest Show on Turf” for his first Super Bowl. Since then, we’ve had ten championships up in Boston. Five from the Patriots, three from the Red Sox and one from both the Celtics and Bruins. So brace yourself, I’m going to talk about how lucky we are, up in Massachusetts.
We’ve had a number of moments in that span that any Bostonian could tell you exactly where they were at the time. When you’ve seen 10 championships in your life it’s hard to pick your favorite, a tough life… I know.
Sure, I could talk about how Malcolm Butler’s interception saved the Patriots’ legacy. Or how the Patriots’ 28-3 comeback in Super Bowl LI is just about the most improbable event to ever happen in sports. And there’s Kevin Garnett telling you that anything is possible after the 2008 NBA Finals or the 2004 Red Sox reminding everyone to always keep the faith. But none of those are my favorite, not even close. Okay, maybe a little close.
The 2013 Boston Red Sox are my favorite sports team I’ve seen in my lifetime. Coming off a last place finish in 2012, the Sox were projected to stay in the basement of the AL East again for another year. But one day in April, a day we’ll never forget, the Red Sox found an extra reason to play. Following the events of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the city of Boston needed the Red Sox.
That first game back in Boston was when I really had the feeling this team would go places. From David Ortiz telling the nation that “this was our f******* city,” to Daniel Nava’s walkoff homerun, there was a different feel to this team. They proceeded to hang up a “617 Boston Strong” jersey in the dugout every game for the rest of the season and most of the ceremonial first pitches for the rest of the year came from both survivors and first responders. It was a way for the city to heal.
For me, it all culminated in Game 2 of the ALCS. Down 1-0 in the series and 5-1 in game two, the Red Sox faced a very real possibility of heading to Detroit down 2-0, but Ortiz had other plans. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the bases loaded, Ortiz launched a grand slam into the bullpen that sent Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter flipping over wall. The iconic photo of Hunter’s legs in the air and Boston Police Officer Steve Horgan celebrating right behind him will live on forever. (Sidenote, I’ve met Officer Horgan and he has no problem throwing his hands in the air for a picture.)
The Ortiz grand slam represented the city and its healing better than anything. Just when you think we’re down, we bounce right back. The team went on to win the ALCS and the World Series in an iconic Game 6 at Fenway Park. I have no shame in admitting I shed a few tears after the final out of the ninth.
So yes, we’re fortunate up in Boston. So much stuff has gone our way I honestly can’t think of any bad memories from the past 17 years.
What? Did you say helmet catch? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus.. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @conn_donahue.