In Defense of Boston: Why I love that dirty water

Is it just me or has Boston been getting a pretty bad rap lately? I really should start with the caveat that I am a born and raised Bostonian; from the Pru to the Pats to the Public Gardens, I love it all. So this post is almost (not almost) 100% influenced by that. But all bias aside, someone needed to step up for Beantown … and I’m going to be the one to do it.

We don’t have to cheat. Our sports teams are actually pretty freakin’ good.

7 championships in a decade? I’d probably be pretty suspicious if I wasn’t from here, too. Sure. But has anyone ever stopped to think talent has something to do with it?

Most recently, our beloved Patriots squeaked out an AFC championship win last week against their conference rival the Baltimore Ravens. Hours after the game, while all Bostonians were basking in the glory of ANOTHER Super Bowl appearance, news surfaced that members of the Baltimore coaching squad were suspicious of score board tampering (on the part of the Patriots) with the intent to throw off the Baltimore kicker, Billy Cundiff. (I don’t need to explain what happened in the final seconds of the game … but the words “wide left” are fairly important.) First of all. Bitterness is an ugly color on everyone. Secondly. We don’t need to cheat to beat you fair and square. Granted, spygate gave us a pretty bad reputation, but all this conversation boils down to is strategy. And 7 championships, across 4 different teams, proves that.

ESPN writer Peter Keating really said it best: Boston is just better than you. (When it comes to sports, of course.)

We like to drink. Sure. But let’s throw some qualifiers on these statistics.

At the end of last year the Daily Beast came out with their 2nd annual list of drunkest cities in America … and for 2011, I want you to guess who made the top of the list. Yep. That’s right. Boston. For those of you throughout the country muttering “obviously” under your breath, we need to reevaluate this.

Regardless of the criteria used for this study, I honestly think that college towns and cities where the natives are primarily Irish should get looked at different. They skew our data, right? We are so much more than the beer we drink. What about how smart we are? And the fact that we have an innovation district that even Mark Zuckerberg would be jealous of? These are the things that define a city.

I’m rude? That’s a pretty rude thing to say.

In a recent survey conducted by Travel & Leisure, Boston was ranked the fifth rudest city in the country. Now, I am not naïve. I take public transit in Boston. I drive through downtown. I know we aren’t rolling out the red carpet for each other on a daily basis, but fifth rudest seems a little harsh. (By the way, sorry New York for your #1 nod. But you can’t really disagree.)

In the interest of helping to curb this stereotype, new restaurants like jm Curley in Downtown Crossing have established a set of rules (in their case, a “Law and Order“) of how you need to behave if you would like to dine in their establishment. Rules include statements such as: “no loud shrieking, shouting, bellowing and whining” and “its food and drink, not life and death. Don’t take yourself too seriously, we don’t”. They are on to something here. And when I went after work last week and tried to get a table? Jam packed with “law abiding” patrons. That doesn’t sound like the behavior of a city full of rude drunks. Just sayin’…

Now I know we are not a perfect city. Does that even exist? But someone needed to stand up for the home of Paul Revere and the birthplace of the American Revolution. (Side note: if you ever come and visit, you must do the Freedom Trail and a Duck Tour. Heck. Even if you live here, do it. You won’t regret it.) Yes. We have our flaws. We have our (ahem) amazing sports teams. But we’re a pretty wholesome city. And I can’t imagine a better place to live.