from my earliest memories of boston sports, i loved the bruins best. ("he shoots, he scores!"). contemplating the environment in which i came to my awareness, i marvel that the celtics won each and every championship available until i was 7 years old (coincidentally the year bobby orr brought the bruins the first of 29 straight playoff appearances) and then two more after that, and yet i never really identified myself with the team. "havlicek stole the ball" may be my most indelible aural memory of the period, (thank you most appreciatively and sincerely mr. most), and i did love the celts in my way, ("jo jo white, bringing the ball up, he fiddles, he diddles..."), i just never fell in love with them, if you can understand the distinction.
my first championship was truly the 69-70 boston bruins, (and i'm purposefully eschewing google on this one to show off), of bobby orr, phil esposito, gerry cheevers, ken hodge, wayne cashman, johnny mckenzie, johnny bucyk, fred stanfield, ed westfall, dallas smith, eddie johnston, ted green, johnny pearson, (whose daughter went to my elementary school), rick smith, don awry, derek sanderson, ace bailey, don marcotte, gary doak, wayne carleton, and i'm guessing about five or six more it's unfortunate that memory has lost. (though google is our friend on such things). westfall to sanderson to orr into history.
the then-boston patriots were my *secret* pleasure. when clive rush moved his family in up the street for his short and calamity-prone tenure as head coach, i already knew nance and parilli and capelletti by name and by reputation, and though they never amounted to much through those years, (some day we'll recount the buffoonery that was billy and patrick sullivan), i have to say, after mr. orr, that stanley morgan remains my second favorite boston athlete of all time, even including wake. adam vinatieri's autograph on a photo of his miraculous snow-bowl kick hangs in my personal hall of fame, right next to big papi swinging 'em home during game 5 of the '04 alcs.
yes, we can't forget the sox, and their (for what seemed like forever) impossible dream. tony conigliaro, yaz and his triple crown, and the epic series against the cardinals was something for the ages. i could probably do almost as well on the '67 sox roster as i can the '70 bruins, but not important, as many more can recite it and it's almost become too popular to matter.
i am for the underdog. (though i still love the pats because they have decades of underdoggedness to keep their karma balanced for the foreseeable future). i appreciate that the celts have set a record for a season-to-season turnaround, and they've been pitiful for a long, long time so this new renaissance should earn them some love, but i'm still with my bruins every face-off, check and shot of the way.
tonight it's yet another epic chapter in the storied rivalry between my underdog boston bruins and their archest nemesis, the montreal canadiens. forget the yanks, the canadiens are the most successful sports franchise in north america, and though the new yorkers don't like to admit it, anyone who looks up the records can't deny that the habs are the standard for excellence. the fact that the bruins, who hadn't held a lead for more than 17 minutes during almost a dozen regular-season games, are there to steal it all on the habs' home ice is the most marvelous heart-in-my-throat rooting opportunity i can imagine. and i get it all tonight.
all that's missing is the ventures' kitschy cover of the overture to the nutcracker suite.
na nananana, na nananaNA (na nuh na na) na nananana na nanananNA