Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lobel: A Weak Week for Boston Sports

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

There are such things as strong weeks and such things as weak weeks. 

We are in a weak week. 

A year ago it was a strong week; a Boston Strong week. 

Here we are, one year later, and obviously our world and what we think about it has changed. There is, of course, the Boston Marathon and its 36,000 runners.  Medical types are concerned this year, not so much for a repeat of the bombs, but for the novice runners.

There will be thousands of first-time runners, perhaps more than we’ve ever seen, all there with their separate stories, and many running for great causes. But depending on what kind of weather shows up (and after all, this is Boston - it could be anything), the day could be a bad scene for those new runners who think they are ready but are not.  This wasn’t exactly a great winter for marathon training.  That is the big concern for the medical people who want this to be like every other marathon, except for the one a year ago. That one changed many things. 

A year ago the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals and lost to Chicago. It didn’t seem like a huge disappointment because they had won the Cup the year before and the events near the finish line tempered everything.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, were a big unknown project. Intent on redoing their cultural perception of Bobby Valentine’s men, they were a complete unknown. What we know now is that about this time last year, the Red Sox played off the heart and soul of the town on their uniform.  They grabbed the spirit of a grieving, recovering city and rose to the great occasion of becoming World Champions of baseball. The last time they won a world series at home, the world was flat. 

So here we are, a year later and hopefully a year wiser. This marathon will be the biggest since the 100th running in 1997, and the so-called bandits will be unwelcome this year. As a former bandit, that makes me sad. However, at least for this year, it’s probably a good thing. Bandits will unite and come back strong next year.

Fast forward to later this week when the Bruins, with the best record in the NHL, host the octopi-throwing Red Wings in Round 1 of Lord Stanley’s playoffs. Playing the once mighty Red Wing dynasty is not going to be a piece of cake by any stretch of the imagination. I look at this as just one more thing to worry about.

That’s the old and new normal mind set of most Boston sports fans. Just one more thing to worry about. 

Back are the Red Sox, and as crowned World Champions, expectations are way, way out of control. This year’s team might have been last year’s team; it’s that they just didn’t know it. Yes, the Red Sox are just one more thing to worry about. And there is plenty of worry out there. 

So let’s agree to call this a pivotal week for all our teams. Even the Celtics might go crazy and come up with an unwelcome hard luck win. Draft days are approaching.  This sure looks like a weak week but a safe marathon, a couple of Red Sox wins, and a 2-0 Bruins lead on Detroit will put us right back in that position of strength we have become accustomed to. 

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