The Classics

At least one Boston team had a successful night in Canada.

The Red Sox have consistency on the road and at home, a consistency that the Bruins seem to lack. Just look at the last two games in Boston, the Bruins lit up the scoreboard, but once back in Vancouver, the struggled with turnovers and keeping control of the puck. The Red Sox haven’t had that problem lately. They were on fire against the Yankees when every player in the starting lineup had a hit and now they added another W against the Jay’s. 7 in a row? The Bruins should take some notes.

I think the key is in the classics. In literature, it’s the classics that are read and re-read, referenced in popular culture, and tend to outshine the new books. Joyce’s Ulysses is celebrated every year on June 16 because it is rough. It is weathered and difficult to break into. Joyce once said, that if readers can’t make it through Ulysses, then they couldn’t make it through life. It’s difficult and sometimes slow and loses its rhythm but it has stayed the course and remained consistent. It’s still celebrated.

The same is for athletes. The classic players, the veterans of the team, the ones who have been in the game before it became a place for product placement and increasing the bottom line for the brand (note Shawn Thornton unable to wear Red Sox hat during press conferences and NHL interviews), are the ones who stand the test of time. They are sometimes slow, don’t always perform to the expectations of the club, and are sometimes considered too old to be relevant or useful in today’s game. But, they stand the test of time.

Wakefield is back in the rotation, a place he deserves to be. At 44, he might be tired compared to the younger, Alfredo Aceves but he is consistent and he walked away with a win on Wednesday night’s game in New York. Wakefield isn’t tired just yet; he deserves to be the starter on Tuesday against the Rays. The Bruin’s 33-year-old Shawn Thornton has been dusted off and joined the team during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, his first game back since Game 3 of the Conference Finals. When Thornton hit the ice, the game reached a new level, with only 9 shifts in Game 3 he fired the team up. In Game 4 his shifts increased and so did the energy of the team, and it showed on the ice and on the scoreboard. Thornton waited nine seasons in the minors before getting his break. Not to mention right wing Mark Recchi (43) or Jason Varitek (39), two more veterans of their games; players who should not be shelved.

These players might seem rough and worn. Tired and outdated, but they have patience. They stand the test of time as the minutes of the game tick away. They know the game from a different time, yet they are still relevant today.

It’s always good to take the classics off the shelf because they can teach the newcomers something about the game. As Joyce wrote in Ulysses, “a man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” These players have the errors behind them and are leading the teams to new levels of the games they play.

~~~Trenna Field


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