Confession: I am a bandwagon fan.
Until a couple of months ago, my connection to the Boston Bruins was this: I grew up with a last name that is one letter short of being the same as that of one of the greatest goalies of all time, Bruins legend Gerry Cheevers. I spent most of my childhood being asked if I was related to him. (No. Also, interesting side note: only twice have I ever been asked if I was related to race car driver Eddie Cheever. And only once have I been asked if I'm related to author John Cheever. His literary offspring Benjamin and Susan? Nobody's ever asked if I'm related to them. But I digress.)
Suddenly I'm watching hockey, talking with relative intelligence about the merits of players like Horton, Bergeron, Lucic and Thomas, whose names I barely knew six months ago, and finding my breath rising and falling on each move these guys make on the ice.
I know long-suffering Bruins fans have mixed feelings about bandwagon fans. I get it. They've been riding the rollercoaster for years, and now a tourist like me comes along and tries to act like a local. But this is Boston. That makes it different. In Boston, even if you never watched a hockey game, you know who Bobby Orr was and what number he wore. You know it the same way you'd just simply know names like Williams and Yastrzemski, or Bird and Parish. You know it when you hear kids saying "Beat L.A." and "Yankees Suck" and they're not parroting their parents-- they mean it. These loyalties are woven into the culture of the city, and woven into each one of us born and raised here.
They don't call it Red Sox Nation for nothin'. Around here, you don't simply become a fan of the Bruins, the Red Sox, the Celtics, or the Patriots. You are born into it the same way you're born into U.S. citizenship. There are days for life as usual and days to fly the colors. This is the time to fly the colors. Go Bruins!