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A report that came out on Wednesday states that Celtics forward Paul Pierce will be out indefinitely with an injured thumb. Compounding this are his flu-like symptoms that kept him from even being with the team for their game against the New York Knicks Tuesday night. This is coming off of a long season filled with injuries and missed games for Boston’s starting five.
Constant injury is a sign of body breakdown, something that comes naturally with aging. In other words, the Celtics are getting old. That’s OK, though, they are not the only team with age and injury working against them. The Red Sox are definitely not as young as they once were. David Ortiz is aging badly. Tim Wakefield breaks down every season now. And even new guys like Mike Cameron and John Lackey aren’t exactly spring chickens.
The problem extends to the Patriots too. Tom Brady looked worn out this season. More than that, the defense didn’t seem to be able to stop any of the elite teams. Despite some youth in the secondary, the defense looked old and slow through the entire season. In both the Celtics’ and Patriots’ cases, this lack of youth has led to stamina issues that have caused first-half leads to quickly evaporate. Both the Patriots and the Celtics have lost multiple games this season because they were too gassed to play defense come the fourth quarter.
The only team where age is not such a factor is the Bruins, who ironically have achieved the least of any of the four teams. While they are younger than the other three major teams, the Bruins have also had major injury issues that have led to a lack of chemistry and lost opportunities. In short, the Bruins seem like they’re old before their time, suffering from the same problems the other teams have without actually being old enough to justify them.
Seeing the age of our sports teams and its effect on their performance, we can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some symbolism here with the city of Boston itself? Two years ago, Bill Simmons wrote an article during the Celtics’ NBA Championship run where he talked about the way the rejuvenated Boston sports world was emblematic of a rejuvenated city of Boston. Two years later, much has changed. The economy has taken a turn for the worse. New businesses aren’t moving in the way they used to. And the city has been marred by a dreary stretch of weather dating back to the 2009 Summer That Wasn’t. Boston might be getting old, city-wise. It might be starting to break down, and we’re seeing the first signs of it in our creaky, aging, veteran sports teams.
There’s no solution to this particular problem, it’s just one that’s been eating at me for awhile and gets worse every time something else happens to reiterate the age of our players. Cities go through cycles of development and stagnation, same as sports teams. Boston hit its peak in the mid 2000s, with the completion of the Big Dig and the success of all four of our sports teams. Now a new decade has begun and Boston may be entering a period of decay. Hopefully the ownership groups of our sports teams will fight this with all of their hearts and money, but we may all need to be prepared for a dreary period for our teams and our city.