As the Pats, Sox, and Celtics all won recent championships, the Bruins were the unlucky, left-out stepchildren during a decade of professional sports dominance the likes of which New England (nor anywhere else, for that matter) had never seen. Of course, to the delight of their fans, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last month and finally joined the party. Lots of places are called "Title Town," but none have greater claim to that nom de guerre than Boston. Listening to local sports radio since the NHL season ended has only reinforced that notion. Caller after caller makes the same point: all of New England's professional teams are champions. Huzza!
But is that accurate? What about the New England Revolution, of Major League Soccer?
I bet you're thinking, "Wait a minute, Wormwood. America has a professional soccer league, and New England's team is called the Revolution? No friggin' way!"
Yes friggin' way. The league and team actually exist. Of course, as the old saw goes, perception is reality, so the Revs, as their fans call them (apparently the team has fans, too, although I don't know any), don't exist for most of us. They subsist outside of our thoughts. We don't cheer when they win or cry when they lose; we don't care, or think about them at all, even if they are owned by Robert Kraft, and play their home matches at Gillette Stadium.
In some ways, the Revs offer a lot of the things a New England sports fan values the most. They have a rival club in New York called Red Bull New York (what a crappy, corporate name); also, they have enjoyed some success. In the early part of the last decade, the Revs made it all the way to the MLS championship game four times, losing each one. Ouch! The Revs even have a supporters organization called the Midnight Riders, named for Paul Revere's little jaunt (insert Sarah Palin joke here), not the Allman Brothers tune. All of that adds up to — what, exactly? To nothing, that's what.
Who fucking cares about soccer? Dial up one of those sports radio talk shows and tell whoever screens the calls that you want to discuss the Revs. Unless the show's producer mistakenly thinks you said "the refs," you will never be on the air. And that's the way it should be. But don't take my word. For a hilarious and convincing explanation of why Americans don't like soccer, despite being constantly told that we will eventually embrace the sport because the rest of the world does, check out Chuck Klosterman's hilarious essay on this topic in his 2003 book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.
And yet soccer is in the news. The USA's women's national team defeated Brazil the other day in Germany, advancing to the Women's World Cup semifinals to face France on Wednesday, so the American ladies are two wins away from their sport's biggest prize. It's been 12 years since Brandi (she's a fine girl) Chastain showed the world her sports bra after scoring the final, winning goal for the USA in that tournament, a famous moment that was also the last time most American men watched 10 seconds of soccer. (For their part, the Revolution are a painful 3-8 so far this season, and getting ready to face English Premier League superpower Manchester United.)
I wish the American ladies, and the Revolution, for that matter, much luck, but that doesn't mean I care. I don't. In fact, I'll be glad when their seasons are over so I can go back to ignoring the WNBA.
Rick Wormwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.