Friday, February 10, 2012

Big Blues

The sports gods are screwing with my attempt to brainwash my kids.  I used to think that getting my kids to root for my teams would be easy, even though I am from Boston and we're living in Enemy Territory.  I figured, as the kids grew up, I'd somehow convince them to ignore their own hometown teams, either by telling them they are instruments of the devil (the Yankees) or they don't really exist (the Mets).  By age two, Kyle was already saying "Go Red Sox," adding that Big Papi was his favorite player.  The kid also regularly wore a Red Sox hat and jacket, making him my own human shield against the barrage of New York insults.  For the most part, it was working perfectly.

(Above: Adam and Kyle experience the agony of defeat
with their friend Julia)
But then there's football. Football was supposed to be easy. The animosity between New York and New England isn't quite as strong on the gridiron as it is on the baseball diamond.  The Jets are obnoxious, for sure, but they don't stir up the kind of hatred reserved for the Yankees.  I don't see myself banishing my kid from our home for being a Jets fan, though I might deny him dessert after dinner.  As a Pats fan, I was more concerned about Peyton Manning and his Colts, anyway.  Kyle has become a fan of the Patriots, too, and whenever I asked for his favorite player, he says, "Tom Brady!"

Then the sports gods smacked us with Super Bowl XLVI.  New England versus New York. Rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

"Who's going to win on Sunday?" asked Kyle's nursery school teacher when I arrived to pick up my son last week.

"The Giants," said Kyle with a devilish grin.  I gasped.  Kyle's nursery school teacher laughed and laughed.  She said they had been practicing it.  It took her just an afternoon to undo three years of hard work.

I never really disliked the Giants.  After all, the greatest coaches of the Patriots, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, were with the Giants first.  The current head coach, Tom Coughlin, has Boston ties and quarterback Eli Manning just seems too goofy to be loathed.  I like the fact that he's having more success than his attention-grabbing brother; I just wish it wasn't at the expense of my Patriots.  Twice. 

So now everyone outside our home has been celebrating, while our family is just carrying on.  This year's loss didn't hurt as much as the 2008 loss, when a perfect season was on the line.  Back then, though, I didn't think about my kids.  Now - I can't believe this - I'm actually starting to feel a little guilt for carrying on with my plan.  Is that right?  This year I could avoid anything to do with the parades and celebration.  But what if the Giants win again when Kyle is six?  or eight?  He'd be too aware of it then.  If it's not against the Pats, I think I might go along with it.  Maybe the Giants can still be #2 in our home to the #1 Pats.  If the kids have to root for a New York baseball team, maybe they can root for the Mets.  But is that the start down a slippery slope, with my kids building even more love for the New York teams?  I'm hoping it's not.  I will continue to brainwash as best I can, knowing now that the loyalty fight might be tougher in the days ahead.  Hopefully the Pats will find a way back to the biggest game in sports, but against a team other than New York.  I'm sick of rematches.

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