Culbreath: We’re all Boston fansWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | email@example.com
One of 1370 WSPD’s sister stations, Fox Sports 1230, recently launched a new show, meticulously named “It’s Just Sports.” I say “meticulously” because Program Director Eric Chase knows how people get when it comes to talking ball. Any argument can become very, very overheated. Who should have won AL MVP? Who’s the better running back in college ball? Could Mike Ditka wrestle a bear? Especially in the talk radio world, people elevate these topics to levels of importance that rival some political topics. Combine that with the type of ego that would work in a business where you speak into a microphone, only to hear it fed back to you in your headphones … and you can see how an inane topic like sports can start to sound self-important.
There are the obvious reasons — the economic benefit of people working at the stadiums, a reason for people to come to town and eat at restaurants or pay for parking. There is also the intangible: civic pride. When we put our name on a team, we expect it to represent us. Win or lose, it exemplifies the city. When people talk about our baseball team, sure they can talk about “the Mud Hens,” but they can also simply say “Toledo,” and that means more than just the guys on the team.
These civic organizations made their voices clear this week after the tragic events in Boston. One by one, organizations stepped up in support of their brethren. It started Tuesday when teams across baseball took time out of their games either for a moment of silence or to play a few bars of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” a Boston Red Sox favorite. The Cleveland Indians hosted the BoSox on April 16, and showed their respect by flying their flag at half mast. Even the New York Yankees, hated rival and “evil empire,” took time to sing those “So Good, So Good, So Good!” lines in the middle of the third inning. If anybody could sympathise with what Boston was going through, it would be New York.
The NBA and NHL also followed suit. The Bruins and Celtics each canceled games on Monday and Tuesday for security purposes, but many teams that were playing observed moments of silence. On April 17, the Bruins played at the TD Garden in Beantown, coming out of the locker room to the powerful chants of The Dropkick Murphys singing “For Boston” (look it up, it is amazing). After the game, despite losing to Buffalo in a shootout, both teams came to center ice to salute the fans. The Celtics were on the road in Toronto, but the Raptors also took heed, playing “Sweet Caroline” as they announced the starting lineup. A message shone on the scoreboard: “Tonight, we are all Boston fans.”
These gestures don’t mean that we’re actively rooting for Boston’s teams to win against our favorite guys. No, once the game starts, then Pedroia is a bum, the Celtics are old and the Patriots are a bunch of cheaters. There is a difference, though, between rooting against the Red Sox and cheering for Boston. Again, we expect these teams to represent our cities, whether collegiate or professional, and so when the visiting teams come into town, we treat them as we would treat the regions they represent.
Yes, it’s just sports. But when the nation needs to heal (an all-too often occurrence these days), it’s these athletes who reach across borders to tell those who may be hurting “We’re with you, and we got this.” They put on a show that distracts us from our worries, at least for a little while.
We may not be Red Sox fans, or Bruins fans or Celtics fans … but we are all Boston fans.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbreath is sports director at 1370 WSPD. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, boston marathon, Cleveland Indians, Eric Chase, Fox Sports 1230, Matt "Shaggy" Culbreath, Mike Ditka, NBA, Neil Diamond, New England Patriots, NHL, Shag on Sporyts, The Dropkick Murphys, WSPD 1370