The ball could not stand up on its own in the frigid wind. It would have to be handled, steadied with a finger—the kind of precise tool only a human can lend—and held in place to start the game. This would mark the opening to New York’s latest opportunity for redemption.
New Yorkers have been living under the tyranny of two New England sports franchises since the turn of the century. The Red Sox, who formally punctuated only home games against the Yankees with the “Rebel Song” of Star Wars fame, have now become something of a parody of themselves. The song doesn’t quite have the same effect when David Ortiz stands atop the pitchers mound at Fenway soaking himself, yet again, with another bottle of Moët. The shabby underdog, now fat and sated, sucking his teeth seated upon a throne of broken hearts, has become all which he once so vehemently railed against. Sadly, history is no stranger to the revolutionary vagabond turned tyrannical ruler. It has become a cliché. So will this new Manning/Burress-fueled, underdog Giants team usurp New England’s reign and bring a little pride back to the big apple?
In a word? No.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a native New Yorker who I grew up in the ‘80’s. I remember the ’86 Giants and Mets. I was the owner of a custom made Jesse Orosco jersey, which, after wearing to school every day for a week straight, prompted a rather concerned call home from the principal. (But he was an asshole anyway.) These are all integral parts of that sticky-sweet, indelible map of my childhood memory. I was born a fan. But as a New Yorker, I’m also a realist. I rode the subway for twenty years, got mugged twice, dislocated my shoulder on a patch of black ice in the middle of Lexington Avenue and was carried to the other side of the street by a homeless man and a tuxedoed midget. In other words, I’ve been in the shit. I am no “Masshole” in disguise. I don’t even own a white hat and I have never thrown up on St. Patrick’s Day. My allegiance is clear.
So, why then the lack of faith? Two reasons.
1) The New England Patriots—the only thing that wins in Foxboro (Foxborough?), Massachusetts other than the daily busloads of senile retirees eager to drink a few too many Rob Roys on manicured fairways—are the perfect storm. Logistically, it’s just not going to happen for us. This is their year. Blah. Blah. Blah.
2) The only way to unseat a tyrannical ruler is to let him choke on the bones of his enemies. And I say if they’re going to choke, let it be on our bones.
But wouldn’t it be so sweet to wipe that gleaming, test-tube smile off Tom Brady’s face with a New York Special? It might just bring a little victory to a city that hasn’t seen any ticker tape since ’00. But that’s not going to happen this year. History has already been written. They may as well not even play the game.
Now, just hold it a second. Remove your flaming bag of poo from my front door. As ridiculous as it may seem, this cloud has a silver lining. Hell, it may even be gold. Like Rome, all great dynasties must fall. Sound familiar? It should. That’s what those Chowdaheads —I couldn’t resist—used to say about us. Indeed, the tide has turned. (At this point I’m just trying to see how many clichés I can use in one paragraph.) But like all suns, this one will also set. And so on, and so forth.
I lived in New York most of my life—certainly the better part of it—and I can say with sober intention that it is a city with a “giant” heart. I was there when ash rained from the sky on September 11th, covering my font yard in Brooklyn like a dusting of snow. We shook and shivered in it. But we brushed ourselves off, bundled up and went back to our lives. Why? Because that’s what we do. We don’t lie down. We don’t give up. We are the city that never sleeps, not because we’re parading down Lansdowne Street in a mindless, drunken frat-rage every time our team wins a pennant, but because we’re working, doing, making life happen for the rest of the world.
I think it may be time to just come out and say what I’ve fumbling to avoid over the last 780 words: we are better than everyone else.
This New England dynasty is nothing more than a steward, a stand in. Their castle is a house of sand that the tides of time are eager wash into the sea. (Wow. I think I just blew my own mind.)
So when you sit down to watch Super Bowl XXIIVIVIIVIVIIMMLLVMMMMVXXXIIXXXLL next weekend, ready to drown your sorrows with that tenth light beer, fret not! The storm is fading, the sky is clearing. Above, the distant hum of Providence is sounding. No, not the one in Rhode Island. Okay. Let me start that one again. So, where were we? Right. The storm was fading. The sky was clearing. You were fretting not. Above, the grim reaper and his scythe of justice loom aloft, peering down on New England’s pallid winter, eager to exact the will of the righteous! Okay. Maybe that was a little silly. Whatever. When does baseball season start?