Sunday, June 19, 2011

Choking Down a Boston Bruins Victory Parade

It was parade day.  It wasn't quite the parade that the Hartford Whalers received from the City of Hartford for winning a playoff series in 1986 or the odd parade the City of Boston had back in 2001 for Ray Bourque when he won the Stanley Cup for the Colorado Avalanche.  This was a real parade for real Stanley Cup Champions - the 2011 Boston Bruins.  Good for them.  A hardworking team with no real stars known more for employing players who have lost significant time due to head injuries.

Embarrassing show just 10 years ago
Despite what my feelings might be about the Bruins (as Kevin Dineen recently agreed), jumping on the bandwagon with the kids to celebrate a parade was the natural thing to do this weekend.  We grabbed their buddies, boarded the train and made our way to Boston with the million or so other people.  For events like this, the journey is more important than the actual event.  We would see the players and the cup for about 15 minutes and then it would be over.  It was more about hanging out with friends and family, sharing some good times with your favorite teams and wishing that that was you for a minute.  They will forget the specifics of the parade, but they will always remember that they went to the parade.

Upon arriving in Boston, we walked through Chinatown and made our way to the corner of Tremont St. and Boylston St. with what seemed like 15,000 other people.  I immediately noticed that people were in a celebratory mood, but no one was acting like an idiot.  Sure, people were climbing the walls when perhaps they shouldn't be, but other than that, everyone was just genuinely excited.  A lot of people thinking the same thing I was.

They played with their friends for a while, sat on the ground and played rock paper scissors.  It seemed like we were waiting forever.  We were getting updates from friends watching the parade on TV.  Just rolled, just turned onto Cambridge street, riding past city hall plaza.  It was killing us.  We heard that Chara jumped out and started running around the crowd so they could touch the Cup. I hope he does that near us.  And just as the boys were getting restless 45 minutes after the parade began down on Causeway, police cars came roaring up the street, signaling to us that the Duckboats weren't too far away.  Everyone started mobilizing their cameras, children got on their parents' shoulders and the cheering began in earnest.  Too bad the boys are getting to old for me to hold on my shoulders, because it would have been a good thing to do since they couldn't see that well.  It didn't stop them from trying though as they both asked me to carry them.  Finally, I relented a bit and lifted G as far as I could.  He was excited to see, and bummed out when I had to put him down.

As the Duckboats were rolling a long, it seemed that each player of note had their own boat.  The Cheer squad and the Bruins' mascot had their own boat too.  we snapped pictures of the players and the trophies; the video capturing the scene was rolling, too.  They were taking pictures of us just as we were of them.  We were too far away for me to recognize each of the Bruins riding past us - except for Milan Lucic, who appeared to be in awe of the throngs cheering for them.  After the beating he took throughout the playoffs from announcers and journalists would make me question my value, too.   

The party was exciting for that 20 minutes that they rolled by, and just as quickly as they arrived, the party was over.  The crowd experienced that inevitable let down as the build up to the victory parade faded away to some confetti and broken glass.  The boys started asking me if that was it.  They are used to 2 hour affairs where little league players throw candy and marching bands go by playing tunes.  No Shriners dressed like clowns in this parade.  I explained to them that this wasn't that kind of parade.  They were rolling by us to get the end where they would give speeches.  I offered to walk down there too, but they weren't interested in hearing speeches.  Like I said, it was more about the journey.  And I guess the next one will be for the 2011 Red Sox.

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