Let’s flash back to September. The Red Sox’ bullpen was struggling, the Pats started 1-2, and the Bruins were expected to take a step back from their “overachievement” in 2017-18. If you were to pick one Boston team to reach their league’s final at that point, you probably would have chosen the Celtics.
Fast forward seven months, and the C’s are the only ones who didn’t go the distance. The Sox got the job done in October, the Pats found their rhythm once again on their way to a sixth Lombardi, and the Bruins have been everything the Celtics weren’t in terms of effort and togetherness.
When you win a lot, expectations naturally skyrocket. And if you live in New England right now, you’re living in the greatest sports era of all-time. Eight years ago, Boston became the first city in American sports history to win all four major championships within a decade. Thanks to five more from the Pats and Sox, the 21st century total is now up to 12 titles. It has been the best two-decade run that any city has ever seen, and it’s raised the bar for all four teams. If they have a talented roster, then they have to at least make the Conference Finals/ALCS/AFC Championship in order to avoid being labeled as underachievers. Steering clear of that label by reaching your potential in Boston requires buying into the winning culture.
Play your ass off, be selfless, and always be accountable when facing the media after a loss. Even if you think it’s unnecessary. Kyrie Irving doesn’t get it. It took David Price a while but he finally got it. This year’s Bruins get it, and that’s why they’re still playing. Just listen to any Bruins post-game interview and compare it to all the nonsense that Kyrie spewed this season. Boston’s sports culture is driven by the fans, and they aren’t stupid. Forget in-game performance, we can tell when someone is committed by their body language, the way they speak, and the way they interact with their teammates.
We’re blessed to have this great Bruins team to watch in the Cup Finals, and if they win we’ll never forgive this year’s Celtics for depriving us of the opportunity to see all four teams win a title in the same year. But we’ll also remember the way the B’s picked up the slack and saved our spring by understanding what it means to compete for one common goal and ensuring that the party on Causeway Street would continue long after Giannis eliminated the C’s. We know Kyrie is busy doing human things and enjoying watching the Bucks in the Conference Finals, but hopefully the Celtics who actually plan on staying are taking in some of these hockey games and making note of the leadership and sacrifice. In the meantime I guess three out of four championships isn’t too bad.