The teenage population of New England has been born into a Golden Era for Boston sports. Ever since 2001, Boston has enjoyed spurts of dominance in every professional sports league, whether it be the continued dynastical duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the famed 2008 “Big Three” Boston Celtics, or the 2018 offensive juggernaut champions of the Boston Red Sox. With championship after championship, the phrase “fire up the duck boats” has practically become an annual tradition for citizens of Boston. Bostonian Gen Zs are so accustomed to winning championships that they take an immense amount of pride in being from New England. However this constant barrage of league titles has, in a sense, numbed their appreciation for the era they have been born into.
Boston is a mecca of city pride and patriotism. Throughout the past seventeen years, Boston has been the champion in at least one (or more) of the Big Four sports in all but six years. Bumper stickers, hats, t-shirts, and other kinds of Boston memorabilia are ubiquitous across the state. But the championships in Boston have inspired a pride for the town beyond titles. After the horrific Boston Marathon bombings back in 2013, the city needed something to rally around. Who answered the call? None other than the explicit, resounding, powerful voice of David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox legend. During the next home game at Fenway, Ortiz, or Big Papi as he is affectionately referred to in the area, stood in front of an emotional crowd and exclaimed to them that “THIS IS OUR F—ING CITY!” This iconic response provided a sense of unity, and was so raw and emotional that even the local TV and radio stations airing the game did not censor his words. Boston’s sports have served as a platform for celebrating tremendous athletic success, of course, but its impact has stretched much further than a parade and a trophy. Even in the darkest moments, these teams have been a glimmer of hope for better and brighter tomorrows.
However, as the saying goes, “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.” Winning has become so commonplace amongst the Boston area that in the future, when the sports teams inevitably decline in their performance, fans won’t know how to react. The parades, celebrations, playoff sweeps, and championship victories that citizens are blessed with since the turn of the century are great and all, but what will happen when these parades cease? How will fans, especially those who aren’t old enough to know anything more than consistent success, handle the notion of consistent failure? Not only this, but the success has become so commonplace that children can’t tell the difference between the four championship-caliber teams, as evidenced by a viral video from the Instagram account Barstool Sports. When a girl was asked who she was most excited to see at the Red Sox parade, her eyes lit up as she confidently replied, “Tom Brady!” The piling up of victories has increased the levels of apathy ever so slightly.
Though the words of one girl may not be applicable to many other Boston sports fans, it still indicates that some of the younger fans have some learning to do before they can truly appreciate the championship-caliber teams of Boston. Sure, the parade might have been fun, but nothing can compare to the sweet taste of victory after an eighty-six-year drought. The excitement following the 2018 Red Sox World Series win pales in comparison to that of their 2004 championship, not only because of the obvious length between titles, but because of the subsequent victories in later years that have lessened the impact of what it feels like to be a champion.
Boston sports have touched the lives of New Englanders in some way or another for decades. Whether it be Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins in the 1970s , Bill Russell and the record-shattering 11 NBA titles in the 1960s, or the dominance of the New England Patriots in the 2000s and today, the city has been blessed with success across professional sports. These victories have brought about a sense of community, shared memories, and joviality amongst fans young and old. However, it is unclear how this new generation will handle the inevitable downfall of their four beloved teams. Will the pride that they take in their hometown last when the duck boats aren’t being revved up every year? And will the love for their town withstand?