Come playoff time, someone in the Red Sox front office thought circulating “Boston Strong” hankies was a cute idea, but the Boston Globe’s Tom Keane — noting the scheme originated with the late Myron Cope and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terrible Towel — finds such circulation incongruous. ” “Boston fans have, for the most part,” muses Keane, “seemed immune to this pressure to conform,”, though he proceeds to cite a number of examples to contrary (“Sweet Caroline” and The Wave).
Trying to foist a rally towel on us is an insult. Leave aside the fact that, designed for the quintessentially American sport, they’re made in China. Leave aside too the expropriation of “Boston Strong” — a Marathon bombing exhortation of resilience and hope. But what’s the message when the team hands out rally towels? Does the team somehow think we’re not doing enough?
To the credit of the fans, most refuse to comply. Throughout the game perhaps a few hundred wave their towels. The rest of us tuck them away or just toss them to the floor, letting them lie with the scattered peanut shells and overturned beer. It’s not that we don’t understand their purpose; we’re not stupid. But we’re not going to let ourselves get pushed around. After 101 years of cheering on the team at Fenway Park, we don’t need to become some Pittsburgh knockoff.