Our City of Bruins…Jerseys

Oh, look: Everyone’s sick of Boston fans, again.

Complaining and debating the worthiness of groups of sports fans comes with the territory any time a city is vying for a title—long before any trophies are handed out or banners are raised. Things only get worse once a championship is in the books.

Frankly, it feels flattering to be scrutinized so closely, to be loathed for being momentarily happy, to be repeatedly recognized as torch-bearers of our forefathers, originators of a new pronunciation for the word ‘fuck.’

But really, all this self-aggrandizing psychoanalysis of Boston sports fans is tiresome.

Perhaps the most amusing of all the recent anti-Boston viewpoints came last week in Jonah Keri’s article for GQ in which he informed Bruins fans that the majority of North America was rooting for the Canucks. Setting aside what “majority” means in this case (more than 2 percent, hopefully?), the rant itself was a complete waste of a talented writer’s time as it took generalization (a largely inaccurate one at that) to an embarrassing extreme just to arrive at a painfully obvious point:

No one in Canada wants you to win, of course. Not when a Canadian team might bring the Cup back home for the first time in 18 years.

But U.S. hockey fans aren’t behind you either. There’s none of that (slightly weird) national pride here. Flyers fans hate Boston. Rangers fans hate Boston. Casual hockey fans in Boise or Mobile are, at best, indifferent about Boston.

Ultimately, Keri should have known that absolutely zero Bruins fans read GQ. They’re too busy picking fistfights with the guy who just cut them in line at Dunkin’ Donuts and settling old grudges from their days in Kindahgahten.

Speaking of which, Mr. Destructo laid out a well-written, deeply analytical piece about Boston’s “Dynastic Sports Paupers”:

What has made the Boston sports fan so exceptional and objectionable is the willingness to cloak bullying in the mantle of suffering — as if the kid who pinned you to the floor in gym class and whaled on your face kept sputtering out words between tears and rained-down blows, saying, “I hit you… because I resent… your wholeness… Violence is something… I learned… from my dad.”

Grantland’s Chris Jones went the other way with the hatred by essentially condemning Bruins fans as incapable of enjoying a Stanley Cup as much as any fan base in the entire country of championship-starved Canada:

Winning might not feel possible this broken-glass morning; it might feel as though Tim Thomas will be smiling at us through our television screens forever. But it must happen, even if it’s not for another 86 years. Some year, however distant from now, the Cup will be ours again. And however happy Boston felt last night, however happy that city feels this morning, we’ll feel that a thousand times more, and we’ll feel it together.

Let’s go Toronto. Let’s go Montreal. Let’s go Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary.

Let’s go Vancouver.

Let’s go Winnipeg.

Now, that is a prototype display of unjustified superiority that has repeatedly been projected onto the Boston fan base over the last decade-plus. (The odd paradox of the article’s primary sentiment somehow being both provincial and anti-provincial at the same time is another matter.)

The problem with all these discourses is that their authors clearly either, a) associate on a friendly, informal basis with people who root for these teams, or, b) willfully consume media expressing all those feelings they seem to so rabidly resent (in other words, they read Bill Simmons columns). Otherwise, how in the world do they have such in-depth knowledge of Bostonians’ inner feelings?

For example, Kissing Suzy Kolber took the easiest of routes in mocking the lowest common denominator by quoting Dan Shaughnessy’s front page story in the Boston Globe as definitive evidence that Boston fans are douches. The problem is that even some of the most despicable locals got tired of Shaughnessy’s act years ago. In fact, these days the sole utility of Curly-Haired Boyfriend’s columns is the unfailing ability to raise the cackles of people looking for reasons to dislike fans of Boston’s professional sports teams.

This isn’t to imply that Simmons is even approaching Shaughnessy levels. But is it even necessary to point out that a 40-year-old man who still watches MTV reality television doesn’t exactly speak for any sort of status quo?

The beauty of the modern media age is choice. Nobody is obligated to subscribe to the @SullysFackinBeantownBeatdown Twitter feed if they don’t feel like it. Nobody is obligated to tune into the local news to watch a bunch of yahoos pontificating on which of the recent titles feels most significant to them, personally. That is a painfully stupid debate to digest even when one resides in the same city and cheers for the same teams.

So, really, by all means, change the channel. Avert your eyes. Navigate away from any and all gushing columns about what a great ride it was for some fan base other than your own. Stop watching obnoxiously low-quality YouTube videos made by fans who don’t cheer for the same teams you do.

The Bruins parade is on Saturday and things could get pretty ugly. Some of the fans in this town are so jaded and spoiled that they didn’t even bother destroying any property on Wednesday night. In fact, some of the same people will probably wind up sitting in Fenway Park tomorrow night still wearing their brand new Tim Thomas jerseys.

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