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New residents dipping toes into Boston sports waters


The walls are thin in our condo, minutes from East Boston. That might make most people worry a neighbor will hear them arguing with their spouse, playing their music too loud or not arguing with their spouse.

I worried a neighbor would hear us rooting for the Detroit Tigers. You may have heard, they faced the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series and lost, sending what is now our local team to the World Series.

To say my husband isn’t a big baseball guy is an understatement. In fact, I taught him what the terms “hotbox” and “change-up” mean just recently. As a Michigan State Spartan, he’s an avid college football and basketball fan. He did, however, want to see his hometown team take it all the way.

So, we cheered on Verlander’s pitching, lamented Fielder’s flops and found the nearest towel to throw in with each of the Red Sox’s two grand slams. As we groaned, our neighbors and the rest of Boston had what seemed like a musical theater moment, everyone simultaneously breaking into joyous song and dance.

That’s when the husband reminded himself he was never a big baseball guy. And I made clear that my roots are in Utah, which makes me a free agent as far as baseball fanship goes. By Game 6, we decided it was a “W” for us either way.

When there are fireworks booming in your backyard, it’s hard to feel like you’ve lost. When you’re enamored with your new city, it’s hard to feel like you’ve lost. There’s something about turning on your local news and watching field correspondents interview the Boston Red Sox — as part of your LOCAL news — that leaves you a little awestruck. I’ve never lived in a true sports town. I called Phoenix home when the Cardinals and Diamondbacks were fresh on the scene and thought that was exciting.

But the teams here have hot dog buns older than those franchises. Being in Boston and not catching the sports enthusiasm is not just difficult to do, it’s a damn shame. It’s like moving to Washington, D.C., and feeling “meh” about politics.

Our sentiments for the Red Sox have been settled. We’re not full-fledged fans — yet — but we certainly want them to win the World Series. The New England Patriots are a different story.

Whereas, we were both indifferent regarding the Red Sox when we moved here, we loathed the Patriots. Even though both of us followed and appreciated college football more than the NFL, we loathed the Patriots.

For me, rooting for Tom Brady, a man with a supermodel wife and a jawline as defined as the Webster’s dictionary, just felt wrong. Like, wishing and hoping Angelina Jolie would get the guy. Or Donald Trump would close the multimillion-dollar deal.

There’s also Bill Belichick. Spygate is the real source of sourness here, but his demeanor only makes it easier to hate him. Someone tickle the guy already.

As for my husband’s position on the Patriots, well, Brady is a University of Michigan man. Enough said.

So, last Sunday when we found ourselves dining in a restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay as the Patriots went into overtime against the New York Jets, things got a little awkward. Ever been to a birthday party and spat on the cake? Exactly.

This was the Patriots’ party and we weren’t about to spoil it. Nor were we about to get our asses kicked. That’s why we gently, respectfully whispered our disdain for the quarterback between chicken wing bites and beer sips.

But, as patrons gathered near TV sets and tension grew, our curiosity piqued. Could Brady pull off the same nail-biting miracle he managed in the final seconds against the New Orleans Saints? When you’re watching from New England, amid fans ready to hug other fans and bartenders preparing for big celebratory tabs, you kind of want him to pull it off. You kind of want to hear the beer mugs clinking, car horns honking and patrons cheering.

Kind of.

When Brady and his boys were called for a controversial penalty that cost them the game, a very familiar feeling came knocking. It was that same “in your face — your defined-jawline face” gloat I got before moving to New England, whenever New England lost. That’s when I realized that an “L” for the Patriots still isn’t a terrible thing. There’s something very genuine and comforting about that.

I just fear that one day a “W” won’t be a terrible thing, either.

Contact Xazmin Garza at startswithanx@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.