We are our sports teams


Patriots’ Tom Brady rushed by Broncos’ Malik Jackson.

Civic pride and the general temperament of a city can often be measured by the success of their sports teams. Boston is a prime example of how the identity of a city can be flipped by winning some rings.

Pre-Patriots dynasty, most Boston fans could not remember the city’s last title: the Celtics NBA title in 1986. The Curse of the Bambino was still living on strong for the city’s elderly residents, similar to the Cubs’ Curse of the Billy Goat and Bartman.

Then, Tom Brady threw a Hail Mary into the heart of New England at Super Bowl 37 to upset the favored St. Louis Rams. Boston went from the beloved underdog to that annoying guy at the Super Bowl party who has to let everyone know he won the Super Bowl Squares.

Some people closely identify with their favorite sports teams, deterred by the losses only to be invigorated by the wins. Look at the Alabama Crimson Tide football program. Nick Saban, the dean of college football coaches, could take the governor of Alabama’s parking spot without incident. He could tell the governor to drop and give him 20 and no one would blink an eye.

That’s because, with four national championships in the last seven years, he has built a dynasty in Tuscaloosa. People from the area can point to Alabama football as a great source of pride in their lives. “Roll Tide” isn’t just a catchphrase — it’s a lifestyle. Sports fans often identify with their favorite team to the degree that it is successful.

Alabama will not always be the best football team in the SEC. Inevitably, parity will even the playing field. “Sport” is defined as a regression to the mean, similar to the ups and downs that we experience in everyday life.

Life is filled with parity, too. It is about how you handle your successes gracefully and bounce back from mistakes, similar to the ‘1-0’ mentality sports teams adopt. Some years, your team will be undefeated, others it will struggle for its first win. It’s great to be an Alabama football fan now, but someday Vanderbilt will have their day in the sun.

Sometimes in life, you are Alabama, “Roll Tide” all day, and on others you are Vanderbilt, “Insert Slogan Here.” We reflect our sports teams and our sports teams are inside us.