A little of my back story … to explain this eclectic mix of commentary …
I was brought-up in the rugby league hotbed of St Helens, a glass town in the north of England (which for the transatlantic reader probably means nothing – so think maybe Hartford Whalers/NHL as compared to The Yankees / MLB and you’ll know how St Helens /RFL related to say Manchester United and soccer?).
Rugby League was and still is my touchstone sport. In my formative years the club was woeful … worse it was dominated by its deadliest local rivals, Wigan, who had the rest of the league under their thumbs for what – to me as a youngster growing-up – seemed an eternity.
Now when I say the Saints were woeful, I gotta qualify that, they were the bridesmaids; always showing up at the big occasions but just getting to stand around and watch as the hated Wigan picked-up all of that silverware.
Any of you Redsox fans getting this picture?
There were some tiny glimmers of hope in all of the gloom; players like Gary Connolly and Andy Platt came through the Saints ranks to establish themselves as internationals.
And then turned-coat and signed for the super-rich (it’s a relative term) Wigan; where they continued to pocket the dough and the medals, whilst dumping on the Saints.
There were close shaves and near misses when it finally looked like the Saints would get one over on the Wigan; but more often they turned into ever more public humiliations like the 27-0 blow out in the Challenge Cup final as Wigan slaughtered us in front of millions on TV.
Now I don’t know exactly when all that transmuted into an affection for and an affiliation with the Redsox. Was it ’78? ’86? I can’t tell … but those bl*&y Redsox are as entrenched in my sporting soul just as heavily as my hometown Saints.
Thank god they finally won the World Series (2004); but hey wasn’t that supposed to be just the start?
Come on ‘sox even the Saints finally hit the big time. Since the advent of Super League in 1996 the Saints have deposed Wigan as The team to beat.
Theo … let’s make it so at Fenway.