The Insufferable Boston Sports Fan

by TNR Staff, TNR Staff | October 23, 2007

I moved to Boston about three-and-a-half years ago and since then have become a casual Red Sox fan. (By casual, I mean I don't really pay much attention to the Sox during the regular season--save for when I'm lucky enough that a friend invites me to go to Fenway for a game--but I follow them if/when they're in the playoffs, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to the belief that David Ortiz may be the most clutch performer in the history of sports.) But I imagine I'd have become a more-than-casual fan were it not for the fact that Red Sox fans*--and Boston sports fans, in general--are so unbelievably insufferable.

 

Now, via Ross Douthat, I see that someone has come up with a detailed, 16-point guide to becoming that insufferable. My two favorite entries:

11. Adopt the attitude that you, yes you, DESERVE this success. "Hey, we Pats fans know how it used to be back in the day. We earned these titles." Don't treat your team's good fortune as the stroke of good fortune it happens to be. No, no, no. Your championship has to be deeper then someone else's championship. It has to mean something more. Why? Because you fancy yourself as being introspective. . . .

[snip]

 

12. Always treat your fandom as membership to some kind of exclusive club of super cool people. Like the whole Red Sox Nation thing. Oooh, you guys all root for the same team? How unique! How special! Fucking die. Be sure to adopt a siege mentality when your team is criticized. "Hey, you can’t rip on Papelbon! He's fackin' one of us!" Whatever you need to make yourself feel less alone in the world.

I'm really not sure what it is that makes Boston sports fans this way. Maybe it's the fact that a lot of them became fans of Boston teams when they were in school in Boston--which led them to adopt a sort of precious, twee version of fanhood (because being precious and twee is kind of what you do when you're in college). Maybe it's Boston's retrograde racial attitudes (see points 1, 4, and 8 of the aforementioned guide). Maybe it's all John Updike's fault.

 

And now that the Patriots are unbeatable and Kevin Garnett is here to save the C's, it's only going to get worse. Still, Go Sox!

 

*--Jon Cohn, Josh Kurlantzick, and Josh Patasnik excluded.

 

--Jason Zengerle

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