Tom Finneran: Today’s Trio: the Patriots, Marriage, and Sex
Friday, January 17, 2014
We have a weekend of interesting playoff games. The four teams still standing are the four best teams in the league. That has been apparent since mid-November. There are no Cinderella teams this year, teams who have caught the favors of the football gods and ridden on improbable twists and turns to reach the finals. Instead, this year, we have four very good football teams, teams which we thought would be among the best during preseason and which have overcome the bad breaks, bad calls, and inevitable injuries of every NFL season. It’s been a long season. Let the real games begin.
Oh yeah, players to watch...number 12, of course. Logan Mankins too. He is one rough tough customer. Chandler Jones. He’s a superb athlete, fast, strong, and smart, just hitting his prime. Rob Ninkovich is another rugged hombre, a real disruptor. And Stephen Gostkowski, kicking at that altitude? He might kick a couple of sixty-yarders on Sunday.
Then it’s off to the Super Bowl for New England once again. They’ll have to watch out for the 49ers. I think they’re the best of the bunch. Enjoy the game.
Marriage, the most important social arrangement and institution in the history of mankind, has been under ferocious assault for more than fifty years. For a great article on marriage, poverty, and “income inequality”, see Ari Fleischer’s recent column, How to Fight Income Inequality: Get Married.
Stark raving mad gender studies majors will undoubtedly attack Mr. Fleischer’s column as evidence of the “oppressive patriarchy”. They might rather consider the real facts of real life. They might even consider ending the celebration and glorification of single parenthood. There is precious little to celebrate or glorify in social arrangements which inform a father of his irrelevance or a child of his lesser importance. The statistics cited by Mr. Fleischer are staggering in their import. Not surprisingly, the poverty rate for married families is encouragingly low. To even less surprising effect, the poverty rate for unmarried or single parent families is appallingly high. Here’s where the real war on women is occurring.
As the movie, music, and television industries continue to assault women and degrade marriage, it’s a wonder that feminist organizations do not wage all-out boycotts of their depraved products. Might we for once in our lifetimes agree that the sexualization of our children, their clothes, and our culture is to be shunned by all? Forget about the verbal antics of Limbaugh or Maddow and their imitators. Those are sideshows to a war that should be fought and can be won. And a true social and cultural emphasis on school first, marriage second, and children third would go a very long way to addressing the poverty of our time.
Charles Blow’s recent column in the New York Times, Sex Is Not Our Problem, addresses related social and cultural concerns. Upon my first reading of his column, I was prepared to take great issue with his conclusion and state most emphatically that he is absolutely wrong and that sex, teen and pre-teen and non-commital sex, is precisely our problem. In what appears to be an effort to seem nuanced and sophisticated, Mr. Blow misses the opportunity to condemn in most emphatic terms the tidal wave of inappropriate sexual activity in America. Come on Charles, let’s be judgemental here. It’s wrong, obviously wrong, and we should not meekly accept it as inevitable. Perhaps Mr. Fleischer and Mr. Blow can be persuaded to have a debate about the issue and its destructive effects.
Two truly cringeworthy utterances appear in Charles’ column. First, his reference to the “pathology of patriarchy” is a politically correct bow to the nonsense of our age. If Charles truly believes that “patriarchy” is a problem in American society, then why surrender the opportunity to be critical—i.e., judgemental—about reckless males and their sexual conduct? Feel free to cast some shame here. It’s long overdue. And citing “complex areas of causation” is a cop-out. Marriage must have primacy and all of us should say so in chorus.
Finally, Charles talks about us “forcing boys to adhere to a perilously reading of masculinity which becomes a form of “oppression all dressed up as awesomeness”. Huh? Speak for yourself Charles. No son or grandson of mine will ever be forced to adhere to such narrow paths. Of course the “oppression/awesomeness” quote comes from a college professor, no doubt tenured. And this is what you pay $60,000 a year for in tuition. My God, what a rip-off. But that’s a topic for another day...
Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports History
February 1, 2004
Patriots 2004 Super Bowl
In 2004, the Patriots captured their third Super Bowl in four years. The win put New England in the group of the small number of dynasty teams in the NFL, joining the Packers, Steelers and 49ers.
Super Bowl XXXVIII finished with the Patriots holding on to a 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The game was also famous for the infamous wardrobe malfunction involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
December 21, 2010
Longest Winning Streak
The UConn women broke UCLA men's streak of the most consecutive wins in a season.
They dominated their sport like no other and on December 21, 2010, UConn's 93-62 win over Florida State put UConn women in the #1 position.
Later, Sports Illustrated named UConn women as the #3 greatest dynasty in sports in the decade behind only the Lakers and Patriots.
June 12, 1984
Celtics v. Lakers
The 1980's were the glory days of the NBA and the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers were the two teams that elevated the play and excitement of the era.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were the superstars and were the feature players. Their rivalry started in the NCAA finals when Magic dazzled and Bird fizzled.
On June 12, 1984, the Celtics won game seven, 111-102 with Cedric Maxwell leading the Celts in scoring with 24 points and a team leading 8 assists. Bird was MVP of the series.
October 27, 2004
Curse of the Bambino
In 2004, after the dramatic historic come from behind win against the Yankees, the Red Sox went on to the World Series and swept the Cardinals 4-0, to win the first title since 1918.
The World Series win broke the proverbial "Curse of the Bambino" which had been in place since the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
November 23, 1984
BC v. Miami
There could not have been a more unlikely superstar and there could not have been a bigger stage to pull off the most dramatic win when BC beat the defending National Champions. Quarterback Doug Flutie put on the best show - maybe ever -- in college football.
Flutie threw for 474 yards and 4 touchdowns and the last TD was to Gerard Phelan on the final play - maybe the most exciting play ever in sports.
Final score: BC 47, University of Miami 45.
October 13, 2013
Patriots Beat New Orleans on Last Second TD; Red Sox Comeback from 5 Runs Down v. Tigers
New England sports fans enjoyed the most improbable double header comeback wins.
First, the Patriots upset the undefeated New Orleans Saints with a 70 yard last minute drive that saw the Patriots score with just 5 seconds to steal a 30-27 win. The Saints had numerous opportunities to put the game away.
Then, the Boston Red Sox in Game Two of the ALCS at home rallied from a 5 run deficit in the 6th inning and came back on a David Ortiz grand slam to tie and a 9th inning hit to win. The Red Sox had lost Game One of the series 1-0 and were on the verge in Game Two of losing any chance of winning the series.
May 10, 1970
Bruins Beat Blues 4-3 in OT to Win Stanley Cup
The Boston Bruins took New England by storm behind the play of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr.
In the final game and the score tied 3-3, Orr scored the winning and iconic goal to launch the Bruins into the hearts of New Englanders and to create one of sports most memorable photos.
April 28, 1966
Celtics Win 8th Straight, Red's Last Game, Russell First African American Head Coach
The win by the Boston Celtics over the Los Angeles Lakers in 1966 was a triple header for sports.
First, the 1966 Championship was the 8th straight and set a record never to be matched.
Second, it was the last game that Red Auerbach would ever coach.
Third, as Red stepped down, the enigmatic Bill Russell was named player coach - he was the first African American pro coach of the modern sports era. (Brown alum, Fritz Pollard coached pro football).
February 3, 2002
Patriots Upset Rams to Win 1st Super Bowl
The New England Patriots were 14 point underdogs to the Rams and this was expected to be one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Instead, the Patriots played physical defense and although outgained 427-267 in yards, went on to best the Rams.
The Patriots won on a last second field goal to win their 1st Super Bowl by a score of 20-17.
October 20, 2004
Red Sox Come Back from Down 0-3, to Beat Yankees in ACLS
The Red Sox were looking at another sad loss to the New York Yankees three games to zero and down to 3-4 in the ninth inning and down to their last three outs. The Sox scratched a run off a stolen base by Dave Roberts and a clutch hit by Bill Mueller to tie the game 4-4 and send it into extra innings.
In the 12th inning, the Red Sox scored two runs off a walk off homer by David Ortiz.
The Red Sox went on to make history winning three more games.
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