(Pictured above: Scot, hashing out this blog post in his Celtics socks)
Why Does He Care So Much?
Why do I care so much? It’s a question I’ve asked myself time and again, and more recently as I’ve gotten older. Why why why do I care THIS much about something I have zero control over?
This was what kept circling in my head all day Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and most likely for the next month.
As Tom Brady and my Patriots walked off the field in Denver (yes, I’m writing about this subject, but keep reading!), one play away from yet another Super Bowl appearance, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “I wish I didn’t care THIS much!"
So as my wife and kids carefully made efforts to cheer me up Sunday evening while I did my very best to focus on the truly incredible things in my life - literally sitting right in front of me - I got to digging deeper into why a loss, or win by one of my beloved Boston teams matters so much to a 36 year old, washed-up athlete like myself.
Here’s the psychological breakdown and five reasons as to why I legitimately wasn’t playing at 100% this past week, all because of a 20-18 loss to a team we totally could’ve beat if we had just…sorry, I digress:
1) Growing up, sports was everything to me. Playing them, watching them, and coaching them as I got older.
My parents recognized that and took every opportunity to reward me by going to Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox games. In the old days of the Boston Garden, my Dad used to have me curl up into a ball in his arms like I was a baby and tell the ticket guy that I’d just sit on his lap while my older sister took the other ticket. It always worked…up until I was 8 years old! I was a tiny kid…
2) Life has gotten really real. It’s stressful and often pretty tough to navigate. Watching and playing sports as a kid are some of my best memories, and as an adult, it takes me back to that fun, care-free time. Whether it be stealing home to win the Little League championship for the Royals (huge underdogs… #ROYALBLOOD!), driving to Foxboro Stadium with one of my best friends while eating Slim Jims and listening to sports radio, hitting the game winning shot in The Joe Guido League championship game as my Mom illegally rushed the court to celebrate with the team (again, huge underdogs…no idea how we won that game), or my Dad surprising me at school with tickets to Larry Bird Night at the Garden - easily one of the coolest events I’ve ever witnessed. All are memories that truly shaped my childhood, and will most likely shape my kids’ as well.
3) I thought I was a sports nut growing up, but my 9 year old nephew Jared is next level. The first thing I did after Malcolm Butler’s interception to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win last year was call Jared.
We didn’t even get words out. Just kinda blubbered "We did it!” It was an unforgettable moment (and somewhat eye opening for my friends who witnessed the call and didn’t realize I cared THAT much…I was crying).
4) The people and city of Boston. The entire state shuts down on Marathon Monday. Principals excuse students for missing school if there’s a championship parade.
Businesses even run promotions offering thousands of dollars worth of free stuff if a local team wins it all. And it’s happened!
The entire New England region lives with their teams, and dies with their teams like no other part of the world. It’s the ultimate form of camaraderie, and I’ll never not pass someone wearing Boston gear on the New York City streets and not over-enthusiastically high five them. That’s a warning!
5) Everyone loves their teams because that’s what you’re supposed to do - love your teams. But then you reach another level where you don’t just love the uniform, you truly feel like you know and love the people wearing them. Characters, warriors and just good dudes.
I fell in love with the 2004 Red Sox, not just because they pulled off the greatest comeback in playoff history (against the Yanks no less), but also because of the cast of characters behind them. Damon the caveman, Manny the space-cadet, Pedro and Millar the jokesters, Tek the captain, Schilling the machine that looked like a normal guy, and Ortiz…Big Papi!
Every single one of them felt like guys you could have the most epic night with…and we did night after night while watching their playoff run. I mean, I named my dog after the 2nd basemen!
The 2008 Celtics that went from worst to first, mainly because this happened:
Which led to this happening:
Doc and his smile, KG and his unmatchable hunger, Ray and his touch, Rondo and his youth, Paul and his commitment to the city that made him a pro.
I flew cross country for Game 4 with one of my best friends - the one where they came back from 23 points down and cut the hearts out of the Lakers - and it was the most enjoyable 6 hour flight home I’ll ever have. This team had it all, and made every critic that the NBA was full of selfish, non team oriented players believe that “anything was possible!”
The 2001 Patriots - the team that turned everything around for Boston. My Dad played in a celebrity golf tournament once and told me afterwards that he got paired up with some guy they just drafted named Tom Brady. “Such a nice guy,” he told me. “Just too bad he’ll never see the field as the 3rd string quarterback.” Well, thank you, Mo Lewis!
After Bledsoe went down, we debated every single day of our Senior year. My roommate, Nick would say, “Tom’s winning games, but who is this guy? Drew’s a proven, pro-bowl QB!” “Belichick has no idea what he’s doing. Get Drew back in there. Brady’s just getting lucky.” said the world.
14 wins later including a Super Bowl takedown of the “greatest show on turf,” Brady was a legend, and already threatening to topple Larry Bird as my favorite athlete ever.
And then, he just got cooler.
And God like.
The 2001 Patriots wasn’t just about Brady or a few other guys though, it was about this moment:
Going against NFL protocol (shocking!), they opted not to be introduced at the Super Bowl as the choices they were given - either “the New England Patriots Offense” or “the New England Patriots Defense,” but rather just “The New England Patriots.” Since then, every Super Bowl team has followed suit. These guys were absolute ballers!
So, ya. I care. I care a lot! Maybe a little bit more than I should at my age. But at the end of the day, I’ll hug and kiss my kids as if I have no other cares in the world. Kinda like how Tom Brady did when he got home from Denver.
If only he saw Gronk wide open for that 2-point conversion. Oh man, Scot. STOP CARING SO MUCH!!!