Flashback to back

On rounds this morning, one of my patients was sporting a Superbowl cap. After a minute of the usual chit-chat ("Did you sleep well? How many pillows? Can I listen to your lungs?") I realized that he was wearing a Patriots Superbowl XXXIX Champions cap, which had only been available to the public for about an hour.

It was then that I realized: Here's a real fan. And: I am taking this victory far too lightly.

I think my roommate from out-of-town sensed this complacency; it's part of the reason she rooted for Philly (another reason: she has a death wish). But she has a point, and I need to remind myself of the New England tradition of losing.

Here's something I wrote in haste and disgust, the morning of ALCS Game 4 (October 17, 2004) against the Yankees. For those who haven't had this series seared into memory, Game 3 was an utter blowout and the Yankees were one game away from eliminating the Red Sox. On that Sunday morning after Game 3, I ran some errands. Everyone I encountered looked like they'd been punched in the gut. We were facing another winter of inferiority. I wrote (bear with me, for the flashback-in-a-flashback):

A year ago, faced with a crushing playoff loss against the Yankees, I wrote this:

I think how your view the 2003 Red Sox says a lot about how you view relationships. There were highs and lows, it was a good ride, it didn't have to end like it did, and it would have been great to go all the way...
...Obviously, I was shocked when the Sox managed to blow it. And the worst part is knowing -- as the Pats have shown us -- just how happy the town would have been if we had beaten the Yankees and won the championship. There will be no spring in my step for a few days, but c'mon people, get over it.

With the benefit of perspective, I realize now I was writing in denial. It hurt like hell then. It hurts now. And there's no getting over it, ever.

Sheesh. I waited for the Red Sox to lose the series before I clicked "Publish" and, as luck would have it, they never lost again. I just can't put myself in that frame of mind anymore. The Sox won it all in October, the Pats won again yesterday. And I can't quite remember what it was like, before. But writing like this almost captures it -- a time-travel dialogue between a fan from 2004 and his 2003 self.

Future Red: Well, there'll be some personnel changes, but it's all good. Like I said, the Red Sox win the World Series! And there's a huge ass parade and the entire city goes nuts. Alan f--king Embree goes on the Tonight Show. It's unbelievable.

Red [wiping his eyes as he watches Gammons interview Boone]: What about the Yankees?

Future Red: Buddy, you won't f--king believe what we do to them.

Red: Please tell me it involves blow-torches.

Future Red: Even better. Let's just say we hand them the single most devastating loss in their franchise's history. Hell, in baseball history.

Red: No way.

Future Red: Listen, it hurts now. I know it does. And although it seems absolutely impossible to contemplate this right now, the Red Sox are going to have their greatest season ever next year. You absolutely will not believe how good it feels.

The reruns on NESN sure help.