I have a platonic female friend who has everything a woman could ask for: good looks, her health, nice career, great husband, a new baby who’s so cute that looking directly at her could cause temporary blindness. She’s got everything she could want with the exception of me, since I only have eyes for my own Sweet Irish Rose.
Nevertheless, this friend has spent the last several days furiously stalking (Q: Is there any other way to stalk?) one of her exes on Facebook. Specifically, the Facebook photos of her ex’s wedding. It seems this guy she used to go out with just got happily married, which has her in distress. In spite of the fact that she’s got a great family. And they broke up NINE years ago. And she dumped him.
Now this struck me as odd, even though one of the formative moments in my life was my brother Bill explaining to me, “No matter how much you like a woman and think you understand her, there are gonna be moments where you’ll be saying to yourself ‘WTF was THAT all about???’ ” It was a lesson I took to heart.
Even still, I had to ask my lady friend why she would care that one old ex of hers seems to have moved on and gotten happily married after all these years. And she explained it to me, at least to the extent that any woman can explain her own bug-eyed, crazy, irrational behavior. She said she never wants any guy she’s ever dated to get over her, ever. Never ever.
And in a weird way, that makes perfect sense to me. I can relate. I know of what she speaks. Not because I understand women. Who does? I understand because I’m a Boston sports fan.
Seriously, we’ve been there. Great athletes come and go from this town all the time. Some leave because they want to. Some because they were sent packing. Some on good terms. Some, not so good. And some are chased out of town by villagers carrying pitchforks and torches. And the one thing they all have in common is I don’t want them to ever get over us.
And this was never made clearer than this past week when our most recent messy breakup, Randy Moss, proved that he wishes he’d never walked out on us.
In case you somehow missed it, a Tennessee radio show last week took a call from a guy identifying himself as “Woody from Nashville,” who proceeded to rip Titans coach Jeff Fisher a new sphincter and insist he be fired. Now, every sports talk show in America takes 10 calls a day when some anonymous nitwit wants someone fired. But this particular call was different because “Woody” sounded exactly, exactly, like Randy Moss. Granted, no one has proven it was. Or admitted it. But neither the Titans nor Randy himself has gone on record denying it was him, either.
So as a shameless Patriots homer, I’m going to believe Woody is Moss for the same reason I believe somewhere out there exists a Scarlett Johannson sex tape: I believe it because I want to believe it.
Just like my platonic friend. I want to believe that Randy Moss is miserable without me. Without you. Without us. I harbor no ill will toward Randy. I look back at all that he accomplished in New England and I’m sincerely grateful. Over 3 1/4 seasons, he was productive, a decent citizen and a good teammate. And just as important, he kept his inner crazy where it belonged: suppressed deep, deep down inside him so it could form a little ball of rage that would grow over time then come out later and destroy some other team from within.
And I’ve gotten my wish. Moss is miserable. He does wish he never left. He can’t get over us. For almost four record-setting seasons he was part of something special. He was part of a great organization doing extraordinary things. He was appreciated. He played before a packed house every week in front of rabid fans who adored him. But he chose to turn his back on us and leave in search of something better.
He left us to go back running back to his first love, Minnesota. But that was a disaster, and they called it off after only four weeks. He rebounded with the Titans, who barely even know he’s alive. In six games with the Titans, Randy has five catches. In the last two games, he has none and they haven’t even looked at him.
And now? Well now he’s been reduced to the pro ballplayer equivalent of drunk dialing in a disguised voice. Because he knows we were the best he ever had, but he blew it. We gave him the best years of his life and he could’ve had us for keeps but he chose to walk out on us. So now he’ll end up alone in an apartment full of cats while we find happiness and fulfillment. And that’s how it should be.
The most satisfying part of all this is the fact that Moss ran back to his ex, the Vikings, and found nothing but misery. So the Pats went back to their ex, Deion Branch, and things are better than they ever were before.
Branch was another Patriot who years ago thought he could do better elsewhere. So he blew town for Seattle. Granted, he left on much better terms than Moss did. But that doesn’t mean we wished him well. As much as I love Branch, I wanted him to go to Washington, play in front of all those apathetic software engineers, poseurs and pony-tailed barristas and pine for the days of packed houses at Gillette with drunken Massholes screaming their lungs out and living and dying on every play he made.
And I got my wish. Branch has admitted as much. Things didn’t work out for him in Seattle. As much as he said he loved the Seahawks or how happy he looked in the pictures, he was miserable without us. Which is just the way we want it.
A couple of weeks back, Christian Fauria was on WEEI’s “NFL Sunday” show painting very much the same picture. He was talking about his post-Patriots career, playing in Washington and Carolina, and how hard it was to adjust to being part of such shoddy operations after being to the mountaintop in New England. And the Patriots left Fauria, not the other way around. But like with my friend, who leaves whom isn’t important. All that matters is that no one gets over us.
But sure, sometimes guys leave under the worst possible circumstances. Manny Ramirez comes quickly to mind. Manny bitched incessantly about how tough Boston was to play in and how much he didn’t much care for playing here under the microscope. So he left and ended up in LA playing in a city that quickly lost interest in him and was even more miserable. Watching Manny get divorced from the Dodgers in short order and then slowly fade into what Mike Tyson called “Bolivian” brings me nothing but joy.
The Sox were done with Johnny Damon when that split happened. And a lot of media members couldn’t figure out why Sox fans weren’t willing to wish him well when he went to the Bronx.
But it wasn’t pettiness on our part; it was human nature. When your wife moves in with your rich neighbor with the landscaped property and the three-car garage filled with Cadillac Escalades, you don’t wish her well. Even if you were the one who filed for divorce.
There are dozens of other examples of good players who left Boston, either by the teams’ wishes or because they thought the field turf ... or the Monster ... or the parquet ... was greener elsewhere. And even though you can wish them well, you really don’t wish them well. I want every athlete, coach, media member or executive who ever came through town to desperately long for us once they go. Even if I liked the guy when he was here, I want and expect that once he’s played in Boston he’ll be ruined for all other cities for life.
Again, that’s just human nature. Does it make sense? Probably not. But it’s not nearly as insane as this happily married woman Facebook stalking her ex. Or “Woody from Nashville” for that matter.