Having grown up near downtown Cincinnati but also having a grandparent from the New England area, I have found myself to be a loyal fan of both Cincinnati and Boston sports teams. This means that I tune in to almost every Reds, Red Sox, Bengals, Patriots, and Celtics game that I can. However, being a fan of teams from both cities could not be any more different.
I was born in 1997 in Cincinnati, which means that I have not seen a playoff victory from the Bengals or a postseason series win from the Reds in my lifetime. It has been filled with years of heartbreak like the 2012 Reds collapse to the San Francisco Giants or the Bengals massive 2016 implosion in the last few minutes of the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the wound still seems fresh from these losses, Cincinnati fans have almost come to terms with the fact that our city may not see another title. Hell, we may never even see another playoff win. The sports teams and the city have accepted a sense of mediocrity. We all know the Bengals will consistently be a good, but not great, team that may make it to the wild card round of the playoffs every year and then proceed to lose it in the most gut-wrenching way possible. Being a Cincinnati sports fan feels like a year full of hope followed by the sharp reality of yet another disappointing end. Words almost fail to describe the experience.
On the other hand, however, being a fan of Boston sports has allowed me to feel the thrills of postseason victories that being a Cincinnati sports fan has not. The Patriots’ dominance of the NFL is almost unparalleled in sports. With arguably the greatest quarterback-coach duo of all time in Brady and Belichick, Pats fans have seen 5 Super Bowl titles in 7 appearances in the last 15 years. As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy New England sports fanatics, the Red Sox ended their 86-year World Series drought in dramatic fashion in 2004 and then went on to win 2 more titles in 2007 and 2013. They look primed to make another run this season. The Boston Celtics added to their dynasty with a NBA finals win against the hated Lakers in 2008 and the Bruins took home their first Stanley Cup since 1972 in 2011. This brings the total of Boston sports titles in my lifetime to 10. 10 titles for Boston and 0 playoff wins for Cincinnati. This is a harsh reality for fans of the Bengals and Reds. Boston has become the “City of Champions” while Cincinnati has become the “City of Mediocrity.”
This leads me to my final point. I want Boston sports fans and Cincinnati sports fans to take home a few lessons from my article. I want Boston fans to know that they should NEVER take their titles for granted because that next one may be 86 years away. I also want Boston fans to know how lucky they were and are to have competent owners and general managers of their teams that contributed endlessly to their success. If it wasn’t for a man (or god?) like Theo Epstein, the Red Sox may still be chasing that ring today. You may not agree with the actions of these owners and managers at the time, but based on recent successes, you almost can’t argue. Now for my Cincinnati friends. I want you all to remain hopeful that a title will come. Do not settle for mediocrity. We will never win that way. The Bengals still possess an arsenal of talent and youth which, if coached right, can lead them to not only a playoff victory but to a Super Bowl title. Also, the Reds may have been horrendous to watch these past few seasons, but this is just the process. The team has already shown solid signs of improvement in 2017 with a sweep of the Pirates and taking a series against the Cardinals in Saint Louis. Remain patient and continue to be hopeful because our time will come. Support the Bengals and the Reds and don’t give up on them. I hope this article can provide you with a sense of the dramatic rollercoaster of emotions it is to be both a Cincinnati and Boston sports fan.