Their bags are packed. Their tickets are booked. And by Monday afternoon, many Chicagoans will flood the streets of Boston decked out in Patrick Kane mullets and Jonathan Toews jerseys.
And when they come, they will come strong. Not like the British did centuries ago with muskets and canons in an attempt to start war. No, they will come in peace. That is, until the puck drops Monday night at 8 p.m.
But before that happens, this native Chicagoan — who has lived in Boston for almost seven years — wants you to know that we are a lot like you. Seriously. Here are a few things to consider — or considah:
We know droughts just as well as you do. For years South Siders suffered through losing streaks, blazing hot summers, a Disco Demolition and slumping teams. We even witnessed a father-son duo jump out of the stands and tackle the Royals first-base coach in September 2002. Year in and year out the White Sox took residence at the bottom of the standings and did not move. We’ve been through a lot. That was until October 26, 2005. The White Sox topped the Astros to win the city’s first World Series in 88 years. If that doesn’t convince you that we know droughts, just think of the Cubs on the North Side.
It’s not enough for Chicago to win one championship. We, like Boston, have to win it again and again and again until it takes up a whole decade. Chicago ruled the 90s because of one man: Michael Jordan. I had the privilege of growing up two blocks from the United Center, and I vividly remember celebrating in the streets after the Bulls won the NBA Championship in 1991, ‘92, ‘93, ‘96, ‘97, and ‘98. It was awesome then just as I know it’s been a phenomenal ride here in Boston since 2001.
Some of the greatest sportsmen to have picked up a bat, bounced a ball, or touched a hockey stick have Boston and Chicago ties. First, there’s the legendary Bobby Orr, who was the face of the NHL during the 60s & 70s and in 1976 signed with the Blackhawks. Red Sox greats Carlton Fisk and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson built their careers at Fenway Park. Fisk later joined the White Sox in the 80s and Harrelson has been the voice of White Sox baseball since 1990. Last, we can’t forget Celtics masterminds Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau. Doc’s from Chicago. He, along with Thib, brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Boston for the first time in 22 years. Thib is attempting to do the same thing with Derrick Rose and the Bulls.
We don’t like New York, either!
In case you didn’t know, Boston is not the only city considered rivals of New York. Chicago and New York have been in contention since the late 1890s, when Chicago’s ever-growing population and prominence in the steel, rail and retail industries rivaled New York’s. In the early 1950s, a writer for The New Yorker wrote of his hatred of Chicago and dubbed it “The Second City.” He considered Chicago to be second-rate. Fast forward to 2005 when the White Sox beat the Angels in the ALCS, I remember White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf saying on-air that he wished it was the Yankees they had beaten simply because it was New York.
Boston and Chicago are connected in other ways too: their love for St. Patrick’s Day, thick Irish Catholic histories, and even Governor Deval Patrick. He’s from the South Side.
All in all, we’re very similar. We’re practically cousins. So, welcome us with open arms and warm chowder. We’d do the same for you in Chicago. That’s until the puck drops — then we’ll fight like brothers until one of us hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Lauren Edwards is a special contributor to NESN.com.