MIT Can Be Hell, But the Pro Sports Scene Is Heaven

Welcome to MIT, a place often described by its students as challenging, rewarding, and, to put it politely, hell on earth. Don’t be discouraged, though ­— for one thing, upperclassmen love complaining about MIT, even though we wouldn’t have it any other way. For another, MIT is a sports fan’s heaven: there are 41 varsity sports, 30 club sports, and countless intramurals for those interested in working off academic stress. Look for preview articles and spotlights of these sports in upcoming issues. Right now, however, I’m going to concentrate on the professional sports scene surrounding MIT.

The MIT main campus is just a stone’s throw away from plenty of New England sports teams. In particular, there’s a team just across the Charles River, located right in front of the illuminated Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. Boston’s heart still belongs to the Red Sox, even with that New England football team developing a baseline of excellence. The Sox currently sport the best record in the majors, lead the American League East by seven-and-a-half games, and are set to begin a three-game series against the Yankees on Tuesday.

Talk of another World Series would be premature, given that it’s only August and there is plenty of baseball left, but it certainly is tempting given the four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. Knowing the Boston atmosphere and the media, it is a given that by this time tomorrow, the Red Sox will be anointed as the 2007 World Series Champions based on the White Sox series alone.

While on the subject of teams with outsized expectations, it would be a perfect time to talk about the New England Patriots. After Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli added Wes Welker, Donte’ Stallworth, Adalius Thomas, and Randy Moss — considered the strongest collective off-season acquisitions in the National Football League, with the contracts to show for it — there was widespread speculation that Belichick had suffered a midlife crisis and set about picking up trophy players to fill the void.

Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen, but that — along with Tom Brady’s second-string QB, to be named later — is about the juiciest gossip the media will receive about or from the Patriots. If you want to see scandal, you can turn on your television or open any newspaper and read about Michael Vick’s murky guilty plea.

Freshmen, you can also be grateful that you arrived in a year when the Boston Celtics’ front office found the personnel necessary for the team to be a well-oiled machine (yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it) rather than a guaranteed train wreck. Though the front office traded essentially the entire team (Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and two first-round draft picks, not to mention cash) for Kevin Garnett, the team looks markedly improved, even if it is essentially a 3-v-5 game every time the Celts take the floor.

KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and whoever else the Celtics cobble together may play in an admittedly weak Eastern Conference, but it’s still a step up. Just think. You could be paying to see a playoff contender instead of a joke.

Oh, and then there are the Boston Bruins. God bless a new season for making me hopeful that this year will be different. I certainly hope that my low, low expectations are blown out of the water. But I’m not holding my breath.

There you have it — that’s the cynicism you should come to expect from Boston sports fans and MIT students alike.