2017-02-09 / Editorial

Pats RULE

Library Links
By Leslie Rounds

There are only moments left in the biggest football game of the year (or is that the century?) and our beloved Patriots, who have been behind for the entire achingly painful game, are still down by eight points. We all know that it will take some kind of miracle to achieve what’s needed – both a touchdown and a two point conversion. And that’s a tall order in a game that the Pats haven’t exactly dominated – up until now, anyway.

I know that most New Englanders are very familiar with this game. It ended so darned well, and I’m writing this just hours later, so why not relive it? Again and again. Right now, that’s easy to do. It’s on all the sports stations and there are pictures and videos all over the internet. In a few weeks that might not be quite as easy. But I’m betting that the book that describes this season (and that will read very much like a fairytale) is coming soon to a library near you. While you are impatiently waiting to read of this magic season with all the detail that only a book will provide, perhaps you might want to think about some other New England teams and other fairytale seasons, because it seems like our sports teams are more than willing to provide in that department.

Starting out with the Patriots and their undisputed Belichick/Brady dynasty, how about that Super Bowl in 2001? The previous season had ended 5-11, so the odds of the Patriots even appearing in the Super Bowl were slender indeed. But 2001 was both Belichick’s first year as head coach and it was also the year that Tom Brady replaced Quarterback Drew Bledsoe after he suffered a near-fatal injury in the second game of the season. The rest, as they say, is history. Read all about it in, “Won for All” by Pepper Johnson. For information about other Patriots’ Super Bowl miracles, try “The Most Memorable Games in Patriots History” (which, sadly, isn’t comprehensive since it was published in 2012.)

And then there are the Red Sox. Three books are essential to learn about the fabulous after-nearly-acentury World Series win of 2004. Start with “When the Red Sox Ruled” by Thomas J. Whalen. It covers in fascinating detail “Baseball’s First Dynasty 1912- 1918.” (Don’t you just love how our sports teams have dynasties?) This dynasty was before “the curse” and all the long years that would pass before ultimate success. To learn more about 2004, try “Miracle at Fenway” by Saul Wisnia. The other really entertaining book on that season is “Faithful” which is a back and forth dialogue by phone and email between diehard fans Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan. I can’t think of any other book that does better justice to the widely known fact (er, concept?) that you personally can jeopardize the outcome of a game by watching.

Just a nod to basketball. I know that the Olympic “Dream Team” of 1992 was not a New England team, but hey, Larry Bird was on it. So try “Dream Team” by Jack McCallum to learn the inside story of that fabulous blended basketball team’s quest for the gold medal. Finally, speaking of New England dynasties, there is, of course, the UConn ladies basketball team. They bring new meaning to the word with their amazing success under the watchful eye of Gino Auriemma. “Bird at the Buzzer” by Jeff Goldberg will take you back to 2001, when more or less still an upstart UConn challenged and beat Notre Dame for the Big East title. Although they would later be defeated by Notre Dame at the NCAA Tournament, it would be the last year that Diana Taurasi would lose on that most important court, winning back to back to back in her next three years.

Last night was both agony and ecstasy and all of you that follow (and believe in) our wonderful New England sports teams know exactly what that’s like. PATS RULE!

Leslie Rounds is executive director of Dyer Library/ Saco Museum.

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