In a shocking turn of events, the Patriots lost to the Jets last Sunday. In doing so, they abruptly ended their season and New England’s dream of a 2011 Super Bowl. It turns out that Tom Brady is not God after all. Neither is Bill Belichick. Perhaps Rex Ryan is not even the devil. While Patriots Nation is still stunned and sports radio tries in vain to figure out what happened, I am reminded not to celebrate before events completely unfurl. Didn’t the Bruins 2010 playoff collapse teach us that lesson? Or Papelbon’s 9th inning meltdown in the 2009 AL playoffs? Haven’t we seen enough blooper reels of poor Bill Buckner to know that it’s not over until it’s over?
A couple of months ago, I found myself wringing my hands and grinning with evil delight at the news of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in Red Sox uniforms. Egged on by the press, I already started celebrating a 2011 World Series win. Like an icy cold slap across the face, Bloody Sunday was a reminder that it’s only January.
Watching Theo Epstein spend like a drunken sailor while Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner heirs were busy insulting Derek Jeter, it was easy to forget that games actually have to be played and won before the World Series rings are handed out. Unlike my friend who considers the quilts in her head “all done except for the sewing”, athletes actually have to follow through to the bitter end before the celebration — or devastation — begins.
During Theo’s Christmas shopping spree, I posted what was supposed to be a funny (albeit snarky) message on my New York cousin’s Facebook page. He did not respond and the silence spoke louder than words. Atoning for my bad and unsportsmanlike behavior, I posted another message after the Pats/Jets debacle and sent my congratulations to him for the Jets win. I added that Pats fans humbly and graciously accept the “agony of deFEET”. I couldn’t let Rex Ryan completely off the hook, you know. Just because Wes Welker got benched for accidentally mentioning the word “foot” a few times, doesn’t mean I have to remain silent! I don’t work for Belichick.
Living in the moment, I will turn my attention to the Celtics quest for championship #18. I will remember that while someone wins, someone else must lose. As Larry Bird once said, someone is the hero and someone else is the goat. I will wait impatiently for baseball season to begin, but will remind myself that there are no guarantees. Even when your quarterback is Tom Brady and your new first base stud wisely states in his press conference that he’s “ready to beat the Yanks”.