We all know the Boston Globe is a giant joke. This is after all the same publication that allowed Gish Jen to publish an op-ed the day after the Boston Red Sox duck boat parade in which she blamed Boston residents for “failing the Tsarnaevs.” This is the same newspaper that continually gave front page coverage to a historically bad Boston College team this season while the University of Massachusetts was ranked as high as 13th. This is the same newspaper owned by Red Sox owner John Henry, which effectively makes it state run media.
So I wasn’t surprised to read this piece of “journalism” in the Globe today from Gary Dzen. His writing is highlighted. Our responses follow afterwards in bold.
When the University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team plays in the national championship game Monday night, it will mark their fourth title game appearance since 1999. UConn has never lost in the title game, and the Huskies have appeared in one other Final Four, in 2009. The women’s team has been even more dominant. If Geno Auriemma’s team beats Notre Dame Tuesday night it will be UConn’s 9th national championship.
He mentioned women’s basketball in his opening paragraph. It simply doesn’t get any more UConn than that.
Without question, UConn has had the best recent run of success of any New England school, but when it comes to rooting for them in Boston, UConn fans are on an island.
Boston is the capital of Massachusetts. To suggest that we would have any sort of positive relationship with our neighboring state’s flagship University is nudnikery at its finest.
I grew up in Connecticut (cue the “You’re not from heeyah” e-mails), and one of my lasting childhood memories is going to a Red Sox game with my dad and hearing someone yell, “Go back to Connecticut” when a couple of Sox fans put on their jackets to leave a game early. I grew up in South Windsor, Conn., closer to Boston than New York, and I was always a Red Sox fan. I loved Nomar and hated Jeter, which as a middle-schooler in central Connecticut provided hours of debate with classmates who were Yankees fans.
I grew up in Massachusetts, and one of my long lasting childhood memories was watching UMass make the Final Four. Ya see the Patriots sucked, the Red Sox sucked the Bruins were mediocre, and the Celtics sucked. UMass basketball was all we had.
Meanwhile, you just described every reason to dislike UConn. Your state is one with absolutely no identity. You don’t have a consensus sports team you root for and get behind. You are a cut through state and nothing more. Everyone from Massachusetts has a negative opinion of your crappy state because we’ve all waited in traffic on the Merritt Parkway or I-95. For a state that seems so small and useless, we spend WAY too much time traveling THROUGH it.
Not that anyone in Connecticut needs to be reminded, but since the departure of the Hartford Whalers to Carolina in 1997, the state has been without a professional sports franchise. Due in part to this fact and in part to successful programs built by Jim Calhoun and Auriemma, UConn basketball has an outsized importance in the state. There are Yankees fans, Sox fans, Patriots fans, and Giants fans in Connecticut, but everybody roots for UConn. And so it came as a surprise when I moved to Boston 10 years ago that no one rooted for a particular college team.
Right. UConn is your state’s team, not ours. They are all you have, so it’s understandable that you would all go nuts for them. We have UMass. They’re obviously not nearly as good, but they are OUR team. Anyone from this state who roots for UConn is a carpetbagging traitor. If this were 1765 they would be tarred and feathered to send a message, but we can’t do that anymore because of anti-bullying laws.
In 10 years of working at Boston.com, one thing that has become abundantly clear is that any story on the big four teams will draw more web traffic than any story on a college team. A story on the Sox signing a journeyman infielder will literally quadruple a story on BC Hockey winning the Frozen Four. Boston is partially defined by the colleges contained within, but many of the students are from elsewhere. They come, they watch the Sox, buy the hat, and maybe even get their first jobs here, but four or six years later they go back home and root for Ohio State or Florida or whoever they liked before.
Newsflash – college basketball isn’t the same thing as college hockey. Of course only a select audience is going to read about the Frozen Four. Who has a Frozen Four bracket? Everyone watches the NCAA Tournament. It’s the greatest tournament in the world. This whole rhetoric right here is completely fabricated, and literally pulled out of their collective asses. If you write about UMass basketball, people will read it. Maybe the frauds who go to BU come here and don’t fall in love with their school. But UMass students do.
The two local basketball programs with the greatest chance of being popular are Boston College and UMass, but neither program has strung together a run of success to make them interesting in the long term nationally. You simply don’t run into a lot of BC hoops fans in the city, and UMass fans are almost always alumni.
Never, ever compare Boston College to UMass. BC is for rich kids from all over the country. UMass is for blue-collar Massachusetts kids. UMass fans are not almost always alumni. They are the people’s team. I fell in love with UMass in the 1990’s when I was just a wee lad. They were MY state’s team. They seemed like a team that the whole state could get behind. They were inclusive of all types of fans. I never was attracted to BC because they seemed the opposite – exclusive to the blue bloods from rich towns I had never been to.
All of this brings us back to the original question: Why not root for UConn? College basketball might not be as popular here as it is elsewhere, but everybody likes the NCAA Tournament. Why isn’t anyone in Boston rallying around the UConn to beat Kentucky, a team which has as much appeal as rooting for Walmart?
Massachusetts rallied around it’s team – Massachusetts. We should no more rally around UConn than we should rally around the Yankees or Mets when the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs. That’s like saying Poland should root for Gemany, or Britain should root for France. I mean, it’s right next door right? Sorry, but it takes a special kind of loser to pull a stunt like that.
I refuse to buy the Big East rivalry argument. As a young fan I glued myself to the TV for those old UConn-BC matchups at Conte Forum, gritting my teeth against the impenetrable force that was Eagles center Billy Curley. But BC left the Big East in 2003. Providence, who was always willing to play UConn’s foil in the regular season, never matched that success in the postseason. Neither team seems popular enough here now to warrant what I sometimes believe is an actual rooting interest against UConn.
If Providence got good, people around here would reluctantly jump on board. Rhode Island is firmly established as part of New England. Their media exclusively covers the Red Sox and Patriots. we know where their allegiances lie. Connecticut is in the “tri-state” region. They clearly align themselves as an extension of New York (if only New York felt the same way).
Geography is obviously one reason Bostonians don’t root for Connecticut, but many Bostonians would be surprised to learn that the campus of UMass Amherst is some 91.7 miles away from Boston, while UConn is 83.4 miles away. The Connecticut “stigma” is another. Bostonians are loyal, which is one reason they’re some of the best fans in all of sports. They can also be insular. Connecticut smells too much like New York despite being right next door.
Dumbest. Argument. Ever. It doesn’t matter how far the crow flies to get to UMass. When they arrive in Amherst, they are still in Massachusetts. That’s like saying Hawaiians should root for North Korea over America in a nuclear war. After all, Honolulu is closer to Pyongyang than it is to Washington.
Calhoun, UConn’s longtime coach, was from Braintree. Current UConn point guard Shabazz Napier, who was a first-team All-American this season, is from Roxbury. Last week on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Michael Felger asked fellow host Marc Bertrand why UMass and BC didn’t recruit kids like Napier. To his credit, Bertrand, a UMass guy, responded, “Why would any of these kids go to UMass or BC? They’re not at the same level as UConn.”
Beetle is an obese fraud and a complete sellout. He’s under the impression that he’s some sort of celebrity. He’s not. He’s Felger’s bitch. He reads the news and occasionally provides feedback. He’s not funny. He’s not witty. But yet he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. He certainly doesn’t represent UMass fans as a whole.
Calhoun and Napier are sellouts too. Napier could’ve come to UMass and built something here. Instead he went to UConn where he knew he would never have to go to class. Unfortunately Calhoun didn’t mention that they wouldn’t be postseason eligible because of this last year.
He’s right, of course. For close to two decades UConn has been putting out the best basketball team in New England, sending players like Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, and Andre Drummond to the NBA while competing for and winning national championships. No Massachusetts team has come close to matching that success. And yet in spite of that success, most Boston fans have chosen to sit the sport out entirely or root passively for one of the local teams. Maybe it would be unfair to claim them, but Boston fans have every right to back another winner.
Boston fans would get behind UMass if the media actually covered them. Ya see, you guys actually have influence. You kind of get to dictate what we will be drawn to as a collective body. YOU choose not to cover UMass basketball, because you falsely assume we don’t like college basketball. You couldn’t be more wrong.
So if you’re from Connecticut. Congratulations. You have one hell of a basketball program. The Huskies are never mentioned in the same breath with royalty like Duke, UNC, Kentucky, UCLA, and Kansas, but they should be.They’ve won the same number of titles as Duke. Their Final Four record is insane. Everyone from CT should be behind this team. But doesn’t change the fact that anyone from Massachusetts who didn’t attend school there is a complete and utter fraud.
So there you go Gary Dzen. That’s why real Boston fans don’t root for UConn. It has nothing to do with our love for professional sports. Sure we kick everyone’s ass in every sport, but we’d gladly embrace a winning UMass basketball team, the same way you carpetbaggers embrace your Huskies. They just need to give us a reason to do so. This year they gave us a glimmer of hope. If they continue to improve you will see exactly how much a state can get behind a team.
Ya see, you weren’t around for the Camby years. You were too busy playing pogs with your hybrid NY/MA friends down in Connecticut to notice how NUTS this whole state went for UMass basketball. If you build it, we will come. Hopefully Kellogg is the guy who can bring us back, so you can see just how wrong you really are.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.