Saturday, December 21, 2013

If You Like the Show, Have the Decency to Praise the Cast

For anyone who's ever said, "I just want to see a good game," the 2013 New England Patriots should be their all-time favorite sports team.

Good game? The Pats haven't played a game that was less than spectacular drama since Halloween week!  Since November 4, they've played five games, none decided by more than four points, four of them decided in the final minute, three on the final damn play! Now THAT's entertainment, assuming of course you meant it when you said all you want to see is a good game.

In my experience, serious fans of any team can take excitement or leave it alone. They prefer 31-3 victories, thanks. Obviously, the same goes times one million for coaches and players. Bill Belichick's post-game mumbles haven't varied much the last two months in victory or defeat because either way, he's a tad strung out.

Sportswriters prefer good games because they're easier and more fun to write about. At the Herald, where we had a sports editor who believed in the human wave approach to covering the four pro teams, especially the Patriots, a game like the Broncos' game would've been a Godsend. All of our writers would've had a fascinating angle to cover.

I can show how welcome that is by citing the opposite case. One late spring Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, there were six Herald writers at the game. The Sox lost 1-0 -- on a balk. Try divvying up the assignments on that baby.

Fair play says that if a team is providing games which are superior entertainment, commentators and reporters should acknowledge that said team is making their lives easier and more fun. The Pats are hardly a perfect or even nearly perfect team. But they've been putting on perfect shows. Their reviews should say so.

I haven't been a sportswriter for a long time, and I'm not a real fan, either (except maybe for the Phillies, my first childhood team, and the Tottenham Hotpur soccer team, don't ask). So I really do watch almost all sports events to enjoy them for their own sake. My attitude towards the NFL is pretty much that of a golf fan for their sport. Whoever does well gets applause.

I know the season's been tough on the Patriots themselves, and my encouraging words would infuriate them if they ever read or heard them (they won't). But I couldn't stand myself if I didn't speak from the heart.

Thanks for thrills, gang. Keep up the great-but-not-too-great work!


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