Don’t be Boston sports fans, graduating Jumbos.
Consider this a push for the fandoms of graduating Jumbos, an anticipatory outreach because many of you will find work in the Boston area. Well, what’s the problem with Tufts graduates working in the region? Isn’t that what attending a university is all about?
Unfortunately, young chaps, we fear that we will continue to oversaturate the Boston area with more young Boston fans. And what’s worse about these new fans is that throughout their Tufts experience, they were spoiled with an embarrassingly successful four years of Boston sports. Just a quick recap: the Patriots (three super bowl appearances, two championships), the Celtics (four playoff appearances, two to three conference finals appearances — still pending!), the Red Sox (three playoff appearances, one championship), and the Bruins (three playoff appearances, over two series wins) all sound blindingly awesome. But this is not an accurate depiction of the American sports landscape, which as opposed to European football, is fortified on the backs of small-market clubs enjoying success in a relatively level playing field.
So to all of you Tufts graduates and possibly new Boston residents, don’t get sucked into the booby trap. Starting off fandom with unreasonably high expectations only sets you up for a peak that will make the inevitable all the worse when it finally happens. Remember 2006? Of course you don’t, because only the Patriots of the four aforementioned teams made the playoffs, and they failed to make the Super Bowl (then they traded for some guy named Randy Moss and things got pretty close to perfect, if you know what I mean).
We don’t need another generation of fans to be frontrunners, an affliction striking every young person in the Bay Area. Use Chicago, a similarly sized market, as a baseline for sustained fandom: swaths of greatness create fans for life (see Jordan, Michael), while niche streaks of ineptitude create the ultimate vindication when winning is finally achieved (see the 2016 Cubs), or supporters feeling the wrath of a brutal Chicago winter to watch what is usually a mediocre product (the Bears, and notably the Blackhawks are not included here — they should fix that logo before they can be considered venerable).
No, I’m not going to ask, as much as I’d like to, for any of you to convert to the dark side and support the “evil empire” — cheering for New York teams. Besides the fact that most are too pathetic for even their own life-long fans, I can appreciate how sacrilegious it is to cross that aisle. I am just saying that when you nestle into your niche of fandom, you should analyze just what you may find yourself rooting for. Is the undercurrent of your rooting interests based on some deep, underlying, intrinsic will to be the best and, therefore, support the best?
Look, this is okay. But don’t just throw the first dart at the dartboard. See that it sticks, and don’t settle into the rest of your life because of one throw. Play the field a little bit, and remember that winning isn’t everything.