Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

How can you not be romantic about sports?

April 26, 2024

Julia Dickinson

January 11, 2024—I am an absolute mess. Tears slide down my face as I slowly chip away at my now-salty chicken parm sandwich. I quickly dry my eyes in my sleeve just as my mom walks into the kitchen to ask me how my lunch was. (She got us food from a new restaurant in town.) I look away from her and say, “Delicious.” Good save, Drew. She has no idea that you have been absolutely bawling your eyes out.

Oh, you’re probably wondering, “What’s wrong?” Bill Belichick is currently on the television screen at the podium for one final time as New England Patriots head coach to announce he is leaving the team after 24 seasons. 24 is a significant number because I’m only 21 years old. For my entire life, Belichick has been at the helm of my favorite football team. And in this moment, all of the memories—the Super Bowls, cheering from the stands of Gillette Stadium on Sundays with my brother and dad, the “charismatic” press conferences—come flying back.

Listen, I’m someone who at least once every month goes down the rabbit hole of watching iconic sports highlights from my childhood and inevitably tears up when watching David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam in Game Two of the 2013 American League Championship Series (ALCS) for the millionth time. My favorite website is basketball-reference.com. I told a friend the other day that I’d have a hard time leaving New England in part because living in a different time zone would prove to be a tall roadblock in watching my beloved Boston sports teams play live. Long story short, Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton wish they had what sports and I have.

So it’s pretty clear just how much sports are a core part of my identity. I love relating different situations in my life to sports in some way. My car’s battery keeps dying? That’s just like how Dustin Pedroia’s body kept breaking down until he was ultimately forced to retire way too early. I was passed up for a job opportunity? That’s just like how every NFL team passed on the GOAT, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., in the draft until the Patriots took him in the sixth round with the 199th pick. I just finished eating two full plates of chicken parm, mozzarella sticks, stromboli and garlic knots on a Saturday night in Moulton? It’s just like the end of the Patriots dynasty.

Ultimately, the end of the Belichick era was inevitable. He is 72 years old, and the team’s performance has dropped off significantly since Tom Brady departed for Tampa Bay in March 2020. That trip down south for his career’s twilight years was similarly inevitable given that he no longer felt appreciated by his coach in New England.

That said, a departure no one saw coming was when Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2016. The NBA was ruined for two years because, barring injury, they were essentially guaranteed to win the championship. Durant leaving the OKC Thunder was like Pip abandoning Joe in Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations.”

Bet you didn’t see that Victorian literature reference coming. But in the spirit of unexpected endings, I decided to become an English minor in my final semester at Bowdoin by taking three English classes—a plot twist more out of left field than when Shane Victorino hit a two-out, two-strike grand slam over the Green Monster at Fenway Park placing the Red Sox in the lead for good in Game Six of the 2013 ALCS and sending the team to the World Series.

One of the main reasons why I love sports so much is because of their unpredictability. Agatha Christie may be able to write a story about how “the butler did it,” but there is no way she could have thought of an undrafted rookie named Malcolm Butler intercepting Russell Wilson with 24 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIX to win the game. Even M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t have the creativity to come up with the Patriots coming back from down 28–3 late in the third quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Part of what has been so amazing about my time as an English minor is just how unpredictable it has been. The fact that I hadn’t even considered it until October means I never really had any time to predict how it would go or build any (great) expectations for the experience. Taking three English classes has been a fun challenge after three-and-a-half years of studying mostly computer science and math. But I’ve embraced that challenge, just like LeBron James did when his Cleveland Cavaliers went down 3–1 in the 2016 NBA Finals to the 73–9 (the best regular season record of all time) Golden State Warriors.

I even committed fully to my Victorian Realism class when I went to London over spring break. I went to some antique bookstores, visited the Charles Dickens Museum and even saw where Dickens, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are buried in Westminster Abbey. And guess what? Those experiences were just as cool as going to the Basketball Hall of Fame!

You know what else is cool? Norah Jones’s music. Her debut album, “Come Away With Me” from 2002 (the year I was born) has been my soundtrack while writing this TOQ. I “Don’t Know Why,” but her music never fails to transport me to a serene, peaceful state of mind.

How’s that for an unexpected ending?

Andrew Cohen is a member of the Class of 2024.


Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words