The glow of the Red Sox World Series win in Fenway Park shines bright across Massachusetts, spreading a feeling of joy and camaraderie that has become a regular part of our sports diet of late.
Fifty years from now, when the sports analysts of the latter 21st century look back, we have a feeling that they will document an era that Boston sports fans can already sense: Right now, we are living in a historic golden age of Beantown sports. This is the dreamtime that all professional sports towns wish for.
All four of Boston’s major professional team sports — the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox — have won championships in the last decade. In the past 11 years, a total of eight championship banners have been brought home by the four teams.
That is an astounding achievement. During that 11-year period, roughly one-fifth of all the championships awarded in those four national sports have been won by a Boston sports team.
Perhaps there is a statistician out there who can provide the breakdown, but we would venture to guess that there is no sports city in the nation that has seen such a run of championships, spread out over such a variety of sports.
Our good fortunes started in 2002, when the Patriots pulled off an upset over the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the St. Louis Rams, to win their first Super Bowl title.
But 2004 was the year that told us the golden age was dawning. The Red Sox famously broke the Curse of the Bambino, bringing home their first World Series title in 86 years. If there was ever an epic series in professional sports, this was it. The Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2004, and earned their “dynasty” monicker the following year with their third Super Bowl title.
Step forward to 2007, and we celebrated another Red Sox World Series win. The following year, the Celtics won the NBA championship, and in 2011, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
And along the way there were the near misses — The Pats’ Super Bowl losses in 2008 and 2012, the Celtics loss in the 2010 championships, and Bruins’ loss in the Stanley Cup finals earlier this year.
All of this winning has gotten to our heads. Football fans gripe that the Patriots, at 6-2, just aren’t as good as they should be (certainly the folks down in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars sit at 0-8, would love to have that problem). The sports radio shows lament the Bruins are off to a middling start at 7-4 (from the Buffalo Sabres’ 2-11 vantagepoint, that must ring hollow). The Celtics, who just started their season, are expected to have a mediocre to poor year (the kind of year that is the lifetime achievement of the New Jersey Nets).
Even now, barely a day since the World Series trophy was wrested by Boston, there’s angst over what will become of the Red Sox next year, assuming Jacoby Ellsbury leaves for a better contract (Yankees fans seem to have a lot more to worry about).
These are the golden days of Boston sports. No matter which professional sport you watch, there has been a reason to celebrate. There is something in “that dirty water” that is magical.