Growing up in the Greater Boston area, I was, and still am, lucky enough to attend a great public school system, to access carefully curated museums, and to have the opportunity to cheer for fantastic sports teams.
I was in third grade when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. That. Was. Awesome. And it was amazing when the Celtics won the NBA Finals in 2008. The Patriots and the Bruins have also brought me great joy over the years through their championship wins.
It wasn’t until recently that I recognized I was hated—or at least my teams were hated. Sure, I could tell sports announcers always rooted for the other team, and my players were sometimes booed, but I didn’t realize the actual hatred for Boston sports teams that exists until the last year or so.
When my brother moved to Bloomington, Indiana, for college, he told me how much grief he got for wearing a Patriots jersey to a bar or cheering for the Red Sox during the playoffs. I listened to his stories and then brushed them off. People couldn’t be that rude, could they?
Then the Patriots were in the Super Bowl this winter while I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was in a bar, with my New England-supporting friends, and most people there were cheering against us. The people in Falcons jerseys were so mean. They yelled at the television, they yelled at me. I was shocked!
After the first half, with the Patriots down 21 to 3, I left the bar. It was late (hello time change), my team was losing, and the other people in the bar were rude and offensive—even if I didn’t understand why. In the end, we all know how that game turned out.
Now here in D.C., I feel the hate again. Except this time, it’s on American soil, where everyone is a sports fan. On Sundays, I do my grocery shopping after the afternoon football games, where everyone else is wearing Washington Redskins gear.
Don’t get me started on the problem there. I cheer for actual good teams, and the people in D.C. root for a football team that parades around in racially insensitive gear and a baseball team that didn’t even exist when the Red Sox broke their long losing streak in 2004. How can you be a fan of a team that didn’t exist until 2005? What, did you root for the Orioles? Tough.
The Red Sox were just eliminated from the MLB playoffs and my “haht” is broken. The Patriots are starting a strong season and the haters can back off. New England has great sports teams and I am a proud fan no matter what.