We all know the ending of this magical fairytale, where our favorite teams romp all over the other guy's favorite teams, and I just outlined the lurid beginnings, but where's the middle? How did we get here? Just like in any good sports flick, once you hit rock bottom, redemption can only be a brief training montage away . . .

Shaquita, Semih, and Delonte West: MILF Hunter
The Big Shamrock touched down on the parquet floor, bringing not only a more-than-sufficient platoon for an ailing Kendrick Perkins, but also a conductor's baton and an uncanny ability to sit in one place for extended periods of time. Danny Ainge also succeeded in reeling in Delonte West from the edge of insanity and Semih Erden from Uzbekistan, or wherever the hell he's from.

(Insert frenzied Jack Edwards–ism here)
Thanks to the general ineptitude of our Toronto brethren, the Bruins ended up with the Maple Leafs' second pick in the June draft. Enter the aforementioned Canadian incarnation of Christ, Tyler Seguin. Though he hasn't exactly walked on water, he has shown signs of superstardom to come. More recently, Tim Thomas has looked like the Tuukka of yesteryear, Marc Savard has been able to shake his dizzy spells, and Blake Wheeler has finally stopped playing like, well, Blake Wheeler.

Sox rule! Yankees drool!
Our baseball team finally remembered how to spend like a team that charges $30 for a bleacher seat should.

Belichick's way or the highway (to Minnesota)
And the Patriots have Wes Welker's cybernetic knee and Tom Brady's cybernetic hair to thank for their recent string of success. They were also able to purge the team of all radical dissenters, including Randy "One Clap" Moss, leaving a team of cold, calculated players to fully buy into Belichick's cold, calculated system. But hey, there's nothing cold, nor calculated, about hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Now, if there's one thing that 2010 taught us, it's that beating the piss out of Rex Ryan and the Jets on Monday Night Football does not make champions. So here's to buckling down, and learning from our past indiscretions. Our predictions for 2011? The Patriots upend the defending champion Saints 34-24 in Super Bowl XLV and Shaq announces his candidacy to unseat Scott Brown in the 2012 election.

Michael C. Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@phx.com.

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