This year will mark the 10-year anniversary of the week that two of the most famous Those Games played out within days of each other. You don’t even need to describe the games. You just need a pair of names: Aaron Boone and Steve Bartman.
Red Sox fans and Cubs fans used to sit at the head table of the club. The Cubs are still there. The Red Sox got out, and they won’t be coming back for a generation or two, if ever.
And that’s the beauty of all this, the one saving grace that gives you the will to go on. There is a ticket out of this club, and we all know what it is: When your team wins a championship, you get to take a torch to your team’s pile of Those Games.
That’s where the hope comes in. It’s knowing that sometimes you get the Bartman game, a kick in the groin that serves no purpose beyond reminding you that you’re in the club and that sports will never make you happy. But sometimes you get the Boone game, that one last failure to toss on the pile before the big bonfire. Redemption might be coming, even if you don’t know it yet.
This Boston Bruins team had their own Boone game. In 2010, they blew a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers. The decisive loss came in Game 7, in Boston, when they coughed up a three-goal lead, which all sounds strangely familiar. It was a collapse for the ages, maybe the greatest in hockey history, destined to be talked about forever. And then the Bruins went out and won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Nobody talks about 2010 anymore.
That’s the only positive thing a sports fan can hold on to after a game like Monday night's. When you watch your team lose one of Those Games, you’re never sure if it's going to be a Boone game or a Bartman game.