I’ll begin with the first of two disclaimers. I am not a sports fan. At all. For some reason I developed a liking for watching professional tennis (probably more to do with David Foster Wallace’s writing than anything else), but otherwise if there were never another televised sporting event again I would scarcely notice. Thus, any observations I make are strictly from the perspective of an outsider.
That being said, I have an observation about the area where I live and its sports fandom. New Englanders seem to really, really like sports. Really. A lot. The sigils and symbols of the various Boston teams festoon vehicles and people alike, to a degree I don’t remember seeing anywhere else where I’ve lived.
Furthermore, it seems that people around here seem to derive a lot of pleasure from hating their despised sports rivals, the New York Yankees. (Perhaps Celtics fans really hate the Lakers, but I haven’t seen “Lakers Suck!” bumper stickers anywhere.) Boston fans describe the Yankees with a vitriol I would assume they otherwise reserve for the Taliban. I… do not understand this phenomenon.
On the other hand, when I lived in New York I don’t remember hearing anyone going on about the horrible, satanic Red Sox. People didn’t seem to care about the rivalry to nearly the same degree. However, honesty requires a second disclaimer. When I lived in New York, I was working with a very different population than I do now. I was primarily working with families from other countries, as opposed to the middle-class American families I mostly see now. Also, being a sports non-fan, I tended to spend most of my time at venues that weren’t sports-related. So perhaps I just wasn’t in a position to observe similar behavior.
Nevertheless, this is my impression of the sports fans in the two places. Boston fans hate New York with a vengeance. New York fans can’t be bothered to care all that much about Boston.
So, my questions. First, am I right? Or did I just miss something when I lived in New York? And second, if I am right, why is this so? (The New York partisan in me would ascribe it to cultural inferiority, but I’m sure I’d get a categorical response were I to put this to a Bostonian.) Thoughts, sports fans?