Boston sports fans have dubbed their home the ‘City of Champions’ on the heels of the success the four major professional sports teams have had in the past decade.
The New England Patriots have been a force in the NFL with three Super Bowl wins in four years. The Boston Celtics added to their already strong legacy with a NBA championship in 2008. Of course who could forget 2004 when the Boston Red Sox erased an 86-year old curse and won their first World Series title since Babe Ruth was traded to the hated Yankees. And then the Bruins completed the championship circle in 2010 with their first Stanley Cup victory since 1972, putting an exclamation mark on the self proclaimed “city of champions.”
But aside from the glory that the championships have brought to the city of Boston and their die hard sports fans, they have also endured more than their share of heart break in the sporting world. Last night’s epic victory by the Chicago Blackhawks can be added to that list and as the saying goes, misery loves company.
The Bruins were one minute and sixteen seconds away from forcing a game seven back in Chicago and as any hockey fan knows, in game seven, anything can happen. A defensive breakdown in front of their own goald allowed Bryan Bickell to tie the game and set up the devastating moment just eighteen seconds later in what turned out to be the Stanley Cup winning goal. Talk about taking the air right out of the crowd.
The Bruins were that close to tying the series and having one more crack at winning the Cup. But it wasn’t meant to be and now Bruins fans and Boston natives are left to deal with another aching memory when it comes to sports in that lovable Irish town.
When one thinks of meltdowns and collapses in Boston sports history it’s easy to think of Bill Buckner’s gaff in the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to win game 6. The Mets would go on to win game 7 that led to Buckner being exiled from Boston until almost thirty years later.
The two World Series titles in ’04 and ’07 have helped to forget the near century long drought but 2011 quickly reminded Sox fans that Boston experiences more sports heartache than most cities. With a double digit lead in the American League East entering the final month of the season, the Red Sox choked and stumbled their way home and as a result missed the postseason in what is being dubbed the biggest collapse in baseball history. Not exactly the type of history that a team is proud to be remembered for.
Of course they do have the honor of reminding Yankees’ fans that they are the only team in baseball to come back from a 0-3 series deficit and the fact that they did so against their arch rivals makes it that much sweeter.
Speaking of an 0-3 hole, that brings up the next point in Boston sports misery. In 2009 the Bruins sprinted to a 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers only to become one of three teams in NHL history that allowed their opponent to roar back and win the series. Another blunder on the record books.
So when the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup in a span of 1:16 last night, it’s easy to recall the unpleasantries and disdain that those loyal sports fans have encountered over the years. While winning cures everything and the city of Boston and their outlying fans have been able to boast many titles across the sporting world, it’s the epic collapses and stunning defeats that these franchises are left to deal with. For the Bruins, they now have a long off-season to think about what could have been.
Of course one could argue that they were lucky to get to the finals when they somehow found a way to comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one. Perhaps that’s just another chapter in Boston sports that proves this city is all about the moment, good and bad. Either way, it makes for some terrific viewing from fans who just love the game.