The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

Pride and Prejudice

Yes, I know – I’ve stolen the title of a great Jane Austen novel. But while what I’m about to say has something in common with the 200 year old story of Jane’s (hasty judgements and the superficial), it’s more about the country I live in today, America, and the values that this country is turning to.

It’s been a great start to the winter months for me – I only follow two sports with intent, the Red Sox and the Patriots. And while the Sox didn’t end up in the basement this year, the season ending did not bring what i had hoped – a final ring for one of the greatest players to don a Red Sox uniform, David Ortiz.

To say he’s a great player is a bit misleading, in that it only speaks to his athleticism, when in actuality he is far more than that – he’s a great, giving person. When his number is retired, they won’t just speak of baseball numbers. They’ll speak of all he’s done for the community, for individuals and for the world.

The next great event is one that I’ve been hoping would come to fruition for a couple of years now – The New England Patriots are the 2017 Super Bowl Champions. Seeing Bob, Bill and Tom vindicated for the evil that was thrust upon them by Roger Goodell was just plain sweet. Say what you will about being vindictive, but overcoming tyranny has been an American tradition since 1775.

And so comes the next step – an invitation to the White House to meet and be congratulated by the President of the United States. Only a portion of the team has decided to boycott this visit, snubbing the President citing accusations of what they interpret his beliefs to be. The media is having a grand old time with this, making assumptions that other teams rushed to meet with President Obama rather than President Trump, and speculating that maybe the next winning sports team will just forgo the White House visit entirely.

Which brings me the title of my story –

pride[ prahyd]
1.The state or feeling of being proud. Something that causes a person or persons to be proud.

I take pride in certain things, both personal and in the world around me. I take pride in my sports teams and consider myself lucky to have been born and raised around them. I am exceptionally proud of the Red Sox and Patriots, who have finally found owners that care – not just about the sport, not just about profit, but about me. About my ability to hold my head high in any sports conversation because my teams are of the highest integrity (despite what others may say or think), starting with ownership and working it’s way down.

prejudice[ prej-uh-dis]
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

Sadly, this state of affairs is rearing its ugly head yet again, this time by individuals that, in my opinion, haven’t really thought things through (or maybe they have). As I said, a number of the Patriots players will not be attending the White House visit, stating that they didn’t feel that they were welcome there (did an invitation state “everyone EXCEPT xxx?). Now, a couple of years ago, when the Patriots won and went to the White House, Tom Brady was absent – on vacation in Brazil with his wife’s family. Should he have taken time to come back for the visit? Or was this a snub? I don’t know.

What I do know is that, while these folks may not respect the man in the office, by not attending, in my estimation, they are snubbing the Office of the President. And this upsets me, because I can no longer be proud of my team – a team that I supported, using their “15 minutes of fame” for their own personal agenda. Some of whom have decried prejudice in the past, only to display it now themselves.

I am proud of John Henry, Tom Werner and the Red Sox organization, for both how they’ve conducted business and for how they’ve treated their employees (well, all but Tito, who they never should have let go. But I’m not going to use this space for my personal agenda). I am proud to have been a part of the Ortiz era, and he has never once made me regret the respect I have for him.

And I am proud of Bob Kraft for the exact same reasons. The Patriots are a class organization and a welcome change from the decades of the Sullivans. But I can no longer hold my head high when it comes to the “Class of 2017”. Oh, sure, they’re champions – each and every one. But for the first time since Bill Belichick took control, they’re no longer a team.