THE SPORTS GUY

Remember when Hugh Grant was arrested for soliciting a prostitute while he was dating Elizabeth Hurley? We all asked the same thing: Why? It’s one thing to cheat on a supermodel, but to cheat on a supermodel with (grimace) Divine Brown?

At the time, I, like every other red-blooded male, tried to put myself in Hugh’s sullied shoes. Maybe he’d already parlayed his fame into so many gorgeous women that dating another überbabe was less of a challenge than buying a bagel. Maybe he missed the rush of courting someone and winning her over. Maybe he needed some danger in his life or to mix things up from a “romantic” standpoint. I concluded that Hugh’s celebrity drove him to Ms. Brown. After climbing Mount Everest—”Hey, I have my pick of hotties!”—he simply couldn’t figure out what to do next.
What does any of this have to with anything? In the days following an improbable Celtics title, two questions have gnawed at me:

1. Have I peaked as a sports fan?
2. Am I headed for a Hugh/Divine moment?
Look, I have an astounding amount of empathy for fans from Philly, Cleveland, Buffalo and every other tormented sports city. Remember, I’m a Sawx fan. I know what it’s like to be tortured by your team. I know how it feels to spend hours and hours wondering, Why does God hate me so much? and, If I just stop following sports, will I be happier? So as the fates of my beloved Boston teams turned, I never for a second stopped appreciating it. You have to believe me.

But at the same time, my favorite football team won its first Super Bowl as a 14-point underdog on the game’s final play. My favorite baseball team rallied from three-zip to topple its lifelong bully before eventually winning its first World Series since 1918. And my favorite basketball team rose from the dead to clinch its first title in 22 years by beating the hated Lakers by 39 in Boston. All three events were like Bob Beamon’s famous long jump to me: abnormally incredible experiences that couldn’t possibly be topped.

espn.com
7/4/08