An article in the Boston Globe recently asked interesting questions based on the Boston Red Sox baseball team who were recently crowned World Series Champions. In a broader sense encompasses the entire city of Boston and its relationship with sports. In today’s culture, Boston sports fans are notoriously obnoxious for bragging about their numerous wins in recent years and their general superiority when it comes to dominating American Pro sports in the past two decades— just ask any non-Patriots fan how they feel about Tom Brady and you can expect and overwhelmingly negative response. However, professional sports teams in Boston were not so successful once upon a time, as teams endured championship droughts and numerous unsuccessful seasons, including the Red Sox’s famous 86-year championship drought from 1918 to 2004 in pro baseball.
This article is relevant to our discussions in class because it widely relates to the idea that sport plays a large role in our society, and more specifically can have large impacts on individual communities and their sense of identity. It notes how members of the same community, in this case Boston, can be brought together and develop increased positive relationships with those who support or wear the same sporting gear of teams as they do. This sense of bonding and community comes from a shared interest, which is that of Boston professional sports. Further, it notes how sports reflect general societal views held at the time. For example, Red Sox’s manager Alex Cora, who is Latino, is widely accepted and loved by the team’s fan base. In past decades this might not have been the case due to Cora’s ethnicity and the attitudes surrounding the Latino community held by Bostonians. However, attitudes in the area have changed and the acceptance and praise or a Latino manager who historically would have faced backlash due to his race and ethnicity reflects this. This notions are inclusion and increased positive feelings are backed up research presented by Branscombe and Wann (1991) who analyzed data from three studies of basketball and baseball fans and found that these fans benefitted from their fandom of a specific team and experienced increased feelings of belongingness and self-worth (Branscombe and Wann, 1991). In conclusion, this article connects to the idea of sport having widespread positive cultural impacts on our society, and is worthy of further investigation such as what is the extent of the impact these sports teams have on feelings of self worth and inclusion.
Image: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo