Monday, April 21, 2014
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The Inner Edge: Boston Bonding

Pull any sports fan aside and ask him or her what his or her favorite sports team’s tradition is and you’ll encompass a variety of answers.

“Players taking shaving cream to the face!”

“Ignoring a rookie’s first career homerun.”

“Cubs fans throwing opposing teams’ homerun balls back!”

“Hockey players refusing to shave their beards during the playoffs.”

“Detroit fans tossing octopus on the ice.”

“The notorious post-win Gatorade bath!”

Even though it’s virtually impossible to come to an agreement on which classic sports tradition is the best, we can all agree that each of them add that little something extra to sporting events.

My Dad and I surely think so.

I can’t even explain the seemingly pathetic enjoyment my Dad and I get out of the “little things” that come up during Red Sox games. Whether it be Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy’s daily bickering, Pedroia screaming “laser show” after hitting a homer, or simply witnessing animated players like Kevin Millar “Cowboy Up,” we can never get enough.

Why do we get such a kick out of these things?

These miniscule traditions and comical habits keep fans thoroughly engaged and create illusions that make us feel closer to our favorite players and organizations. By “bonding” over the trivial things, we feel like we belong to something more — in this case, Red Sox Nation.

Traditions are a healthy way to bring people together and since the typical “Bostonian” is sports driven and addicted to confrontation, nothing brings the city of Boston closer together than a good ol’ fashion rivalry.

Any Celtics or Sox fan would second that.

What they couldn’t tell you is why they enjoy rivalries so much or why teams like the Lakers and Yankees make their blood boil.

I guess it’s just a part of human nature to love cutthroat competition.

The same is true with Boston’s college sports teams.

Boston College fans hate Boston University fans, BU fans hate Harvard fans, Harvard fans hate Northeastern fans and Northeastern fans hate BC fans. It’s a never ending cycle that is interchangeable in every way.

There’s no logical reasoning for why this hatred exists between Boston’s cross-town rivals, but what we do know is that tickets to rivalry games make for one hot commodity.

Especially Beanpot tickets.

Because of the tension built up around the four-way rivalry — BC, BU, Harvard and Northeastern — the Beanpot has become one of Boston’s staple traditions for the past 60 years and counting. Fans are simply addicted to the emotions that the Beanpot season stirs up. They can’t help but play their part in joining the scuffle for Boston hockey’s bragging rights.

Based on the passion and exhilaration exerted by fans around Beanpot time, Boston has spawned a total of six other “Beanpots” in an attempt to further expand its fan base and create an even closer community. Boston’s “Beanpots” now include women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rowing, cycling and baseball. In hopes to inspire even more excitement and to encourage more people to get involved in the baseball Beanpot, the final game is played in the heart and soul of Boston — Fenway Park.

The men’s ice hockey Beanpot has become such a vital part of Boston’s history and contributes greatly to one of the things that makes Boston the perfect college town. By actively bringing together a variety of colleges from the greater Boston area, the Beanpot creates fresh, friendly competition and gives the people of Boston yet another reason to come together.

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