June 13, 2001.
To me, it was the nadir of Boston sports.
Thousands of Boston sports fans flocked to City Hall Plaza to watch Bruins legend Ray Bourque lift high the Stanley Cup. Tens of thousands watched on television. Stymied in his quest for championship glory in Boston, Bourque had finally gotten to drink from Lord Stanley’s chalice as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Just days after the pinnacle of his career, Bourque brought the Cup to Boston to share with Bruins fans, who had just suffered through a second playoff-less season.
It was a gracious act, but honestly it was absolutely embarrassing as a Boston sports fan to watch the reaction. City Hall Plaza had been the gathering spot for the city to celebrate its Bruins and Celtics championships in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Now we were latching on to another team’s glory. This felt like table scraps being fed to a fan base starving for a championship. It had been nearly 30 years since the last Bruins championship, 15 since the last Celtics title, 83 since the last Sox crown. The Patriots? Please.
To me, the thousands who had turned out to see #77 bring the Stanley Cup to town seemed like an admission that this town would not see championship glory ever again.
But, oh what a difference a decade makes. Nearly 10 years to the day after the most pathetic moment in Boston sports, the city has hit the Grand Slam. Seven titles by all four teams. Duck Boat parade after Duck Boat parade. The longest title drought in town now belongs to the Patriots. Wow.
Ten years ago when the Stanley Cup stopped by Boston for a cup of coffee, it was “Look, but don’t touch.” But today, Bruins fans can not only look, not only touch, but embrace it with all of their might. Saturday, Bruins fans will get the party in downtown Boston that they really deserve.