Are Boston Sports Fans Really THAT Obnoxious?
Drew Magary, a writer for Deadspin, Gawker, and GQ, loves to make fun of Boston sports fans. To be specific, he likes to target the loud, ungrateful, myopic, provincial, drunk, panicky, and short-sighted segment of the local population. A few days after the Patriots squeaked by the Jets in October, Magary led his weekly NFL “Jamboroo” column with an item about the irrationally unsatisfied Pats fans. The headline? “Patriots Fans Are Still The Worst.”
As payback for our obnoxiousness, Magary periodically unleashes Tommy from Quinzee, a shirtless, racist, Skoal-loving caricature who loves to yell “FACK YOU!” Tommy isn’t real—he exists only in the realm of Kissing Suzy Kolber, the humor site Magary founded—but if you’ve been to any local sporting event you’ve probably encountered someone like him. (I’d actually love to see a live-action version of Tommy. He’d be our version of Bill Swerski’s Super Fans.)
One of the things I like about Magary—who’s from Minnesota but went to high school and college in New England—is that he consistently implores us to stop taking ourselves so seriously. Via email last week, he explained his views on Boston sports fandom.
You’ve outlined this on several occasions, but what is it about Boston fans that’s so tough for you to take? And are we that much tougher to take than other fans?
I think it’s the omnipresence of Boston fans, particularly in the media, that grates on people. ESPN is in Bristol, so a lot of their employees are Sox fans. Their biggest columnist is a Sox fan. The proportions are all out of whack. Most people AREN’T Boston fans, and yet people like [Bill] Simmons act as if the rest of us all still supposed to give a crap. We started making fun of Boston fans at KSK and Deadspin more or less as a counterbalance.
I think you can be a homer without droning on and on about it. Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs is a Bears fan. You would NEVER know that reading the site. It’s possible to assume the voice of the fan without going overboard.
You’ve spent a good amount of time in New England. Was there a moment or run-in that made you decide that we were exceptionally annoying?
I went to prep school with one kid who was a crazy Boston everything fan, and any time I ragged on Boston sports, it was like I stabbed his mother in the eye. When I told him I didn’t know who Johnny Most was, he nearly exploded. Why would I know who Johnny Most was? I don’t care. He’s your guy. Not mine.
This might be obvious, but how did you come up with Tommy from Quinzee? I imagine he’s gotten a lot of feedback over the years.
I have an old friend from Winchester, Mass. And he used to always go “FACK YOU!” I thought it was brilliant. So I just took his accent and melded it with every terrible stereotype of Boston fans. I should note that most Boston fans I know are perfectly normal, fun people. It’s not like I hate ALL of them. I just like goofing on the most annoying ones, because they get so defensive.
What do you get more of: hate mail from Boston fans or mail that compliments you for being right?
I really don’t get much hate mail. I get a lot of hate tweets on occasion, but Twitter is a mass repository for idiocy. Frankly, hate mail is more fun to get. A lot of times, people who write in hate mail actually have good points. And then they yell out HITLER and those points get lost.
So what can we do to become less insufferable?
Stop getting all the good jobs in comedy writing? Force ESPN to move to Los Angeles? Steal Simmons’ laptop?
I feel like a common accusation is, “you’re not from here, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I guess it’s easier to deny, deny, deny, than it is to actually confront our own issues. How often do New Englanders accuse you of being an outsider?
Oh, plenty. But I think I’ll live with not being labeled a true New Englander.
Do you think we were this obnoxious before, say, 2001? Or was it just not apparent because none of the Boston teams were very good?
It got amplified because of the Internet. But in general, people from New England tend to be very, very cynical. The kind of people that look out on a cloudy day and go “ANATHAH SUNNY FACKIN’ DAY!” It ain’t the most positive atmosphere in the world.
I remember liking what you wrote after the Vikings lost in the NFC championship in January 2010. I believe it was “There’s no deserve in sports.” It made me think about how incredibly lucky Boston fans are. These days, Tom Brady only throws two touchdowns in a game and it’s panic time. Why the hell don’t we realize our good fortune?
Because you suck!