One of the coolest moments of the Pats’ victory over the Ravens to move on to the Super Bowl came when the “Law Firm”, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (greatest name ever, and a fabulous nickname) scored and pulled at the patch on his jersey commemorating Myra Kraft, who passed away this summer after a struggle with cancer. Her spirit and memory clearly inspire this team, and it is refreshing and sobering to see how much she means to the whole organization. (I had no idea, incidentally, that she was born in Worcester – I will need to do more research on her time here). There is much talk from people in the organization and elsewhere about how she is guiding the team to their destiny. This, to me, is understandable but a bit cringe-worthy; I have spent the past two months listening to sports talk radio people rake Tim Tebow over the coals for similar things his fans, though not Tebow himself, were saying. These same voices have been silent on the Pats/Myra Kraft stuff though.
In any case…Myra Kraft was an extraordinary woman and I can’t help but think of my mother who passed away around the same time after a struggle with health problems. Clearly Myra was an “away mother” for many players. My own mother, for her part, was a bit of a sports sage, in the way that is peculiar to old school Boston fans. Some memories:
-She was an unreconstructed Red Sox fan who never could really get comfortable with the fact that they won the World Series. I mentioned this in my eulogy. Last summer, when they were winning like crazy before the epic collapse, I would go to the hospital and tell her they won, and she would say “they are doing TOO well” meaning it was bound to fall apart – a true veteran Sox fan.
-She was so into the games that when Vinatieri trotted out to kick the field goal in the first Pats Super Bowl win she ran and hid in another room – she could not bear to watch it out of nervousness!
-My mother – Carol – was a huge, huge Bruins fan. She could probably dress for a week in nothing but Bruins clothing – she had that much stuff. She even had special Boston Bruins bowling balls for her weekly bowling with the church seniors.
-She was a devout Orthodox Christian but would talk about how she “hated” Roger Clemens, or Ulf Samuelsson, or some other such sports figure. I asked her about this once and she said “it is sports hate, not regular hate. It is different”. As a sports fan I totally understand what she meant – she didn’t wish bad upon these people in real life but only in the arena of sports.
I miss her so much.