Why do winners cheat?

Our love affair with New England goes back a long time. Betsy, my dear bride for these 54 years, spent her childhood in and around Kennebunkport, Maine. Her sister Martha still lives in Westbrook, next to Portland. My sister Peg, her husband Ted and their children and grandchildren live on Cape Cod or in other Massachusetts towns. So do several friends, beloved former students. Through these many years we have delighted in our visits with these good people.

Despite these heart-warming connections, we can’t bring ourselves to share the affection New Englanders have for their favorite sports teams. Here’s why.

A few days ago we learned of a new way the Red Sox have devised to gain an advantage over their opponents by using an electronic device to steal signals. The Sox are an excellent team and stand a good chance of winning the pennant for the American League’s East division. They don’t need to cheat.

We fell out of love with the Patriots, the team whose loyal fans may be found throughout New England and well beyond, when its coaches were caught spying on other teams’ practice sessions, a no-no. No surprise, then, that its can-do-no-wrong quarterback was later caught with his storied hands wrapped around footballs that had been slightly deflated. Easier to grip that way but illegal, of course.

Like the Sox, the Patriots are a good team. Some argue that they are the best there is. Several of the league’s other teams might have something to say about this claim as this season cranks up. Clearly, though, the Patriots don’t need to cheat to gain an unfair advantage, but it appears that they do.

One of our dear daughters considers herself a Red Sox fan, mainly, she explains, because of our family’s connections with New England. We haven’t heard from her since this latest cheating incident was reported, but I expect an email shortly after she reads this blog.

In the meantime, I look forward to a great season for the Carolina Panthers, my favorite NFL team. There’s not much hope for my beloved Baltimore Orioles this baseball season. Maybe next year.

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