For students coming to town, here’s a guide to the local sports scene


Although we don’t look anything like Pittsburgh or Dallas, know that you have moved to a pro football town. The success of Tom Brady and the Patriots in the first two decades of this century spawned a legion of people who talk about professional football 12 months a year. It’s not just bettors and fantasy footballers. This is almost the entire male population and a good part of the women under 50. Our local sports talk shows are full of it, and I say it in every way possible.

The New England Patriots craze is the reason our town can support two 24/7 sports radio stations and two local television networks for all sports. That’s not even counting WBZ Channel 4, Boston’s CBS affiliate. When you see Channel 4 reporters dressed in Patriots gear in an endless series of internal fluff bits, you may get the impression that Channel 4 is actually owned by the Patriots. That’s not true (disclosure: the Red Sox owner actually owns the Boston Globe, but we’re not talking about Bruno).

Those of you who don’t care about professional football (hello, Cambridge) should know that Sunday at 1pm is a good time to do a lot of shopping. The aisles are empty and the shelves are generally full.

The best way to watch the Patriots is to find the nearest giant flat screen and settle in for three hours of fun. Bathrooms are convenient, drinks are reasonably priced, and you see the game much better than you would in person. There’s absolutely no reason to drive to Gillette Stadium, which is less than 30 miles from Boston but could just as easily be in Albany. You can’t get to Foxborough by subway, and a car trip to a Patriots game will take 12 hours out of your day and cost you hundreds of dollars.

For decades, Patriots fans have lived by the motto “In Bill (Belichick) We Trust,” but that support has eroded in recent days, and the Patriots are on the wane heading into the 2022 season. Keep an eye out for the Pavarotti lookalike on the Patriots sideline wearing a helmet and holding a flip card. His name is Matt Patricia and Belichick asks him to call offensive plays even though the man has no experience calling plays for an NFL offense.

Your MIT kids will be interested to know that Patricia is a legit rocket scientist with an aeronautical engineering degree from RPI.

This figure on the Patriots sideline is someone you should know.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Like in New York, we actually have two professional football teams. It’s Brady’s syndrome. You will come across many televisions watching Tampa Bay Buccaneers games on NFL Sundays. There are local fans who love Brady more than they love the Patriots.

By the end of September, head to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game. The park is steeped in history and has been beautifully renovated. Do not purchase tickets in advance or pay face value. Wait for game day and watch the bottom fall out of the market. Unless the Yankees are in town, you should be able to get into a Sox game for under $10. Don’t be surprised if a “Yankees suck!” the chant breaks out even if the Red Sox face the Rangers or the Royals.

If you want to be presented as an outside stranger, do one of the following: 1. Buy a pink hat. 2. Put your arms around your seatmates and rock back and forth as you chant “Sweet Caroline” loudly as the Sox trail, 12-4, in the eighth. 3. Notice, “Hey that Franchy Cordero looks like a back and forth.”

In a few months, our local basketball and hockey teams will start playing. Be sure to take a photo of the Bobby Orr statue in front of the garden, and make an effort to find the Bill Russell statue on the side of City Hall at the Government Center.

A statue of the late great Bill Russell is nestled to one side of City Hall.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The Celtics happen to be our best team in town right now, and you’ll notice their fans are exceptionally cheerful, upbeat, almost childlike in their support for the team. We call them the Green Teamers. There is almost no criticism of the Celtics. Very different from Boston.

Bruins fans are loyal, demanding and most of them come from places north of the Tobin and Zakim bridges. They worship at the altar of Patrice Bergeron and curse if you mention General Manager Don Sweeney.

If you have to buy a shirt/sweater from a professional athlete, “Bergeron” is a good bet, and you can never go wrong with a vintage “Orr” or “Bird” model. “Tatum”, “Edelman” and “Betts” give you props. Don’t walk around wearing something that says “Schilling”, “Sandoval”, “Price”, “Rodriguez”, “Manning”, “Irving” or “James”.

You are about to experience our best time, and now would be a great time to catch a college football game. Attending a football game at your school will be your only exposure to college sports during your stay. There is almost no local coverage of college football or high-profile basketball. It’s not part of our sporting conversation.

We are a professional sports city. And don’t be surprised if you get sucked in while you’re here. It always amazes me how many kids from all over America come to Boston for their college years and end up adopting the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins.

Even some New Yorkers.

Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.


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