by Charles A. Monagan
Apr 7, 2011
02:56 PM
On Connecticut

How Do You Like It Now, Dan?


In Boston there is fellow named Dan Shaughnessy who has been toiling as a sportswriter at the Boston Globe for nearly 30 years. Like Bill Maher or Glenn Beck, Shaughnessy's not very challenging stock in trade seems to be saying things that are impolite and/or controversial. And every once in a while, when he's reached a low ebb of wit and wisdom with a deadline looming, he for some reason likes to raise an objection to the idea that Connecticut, and our state university, are a part of New England.

This is what he wrote on March 28: "Let's get one thing straight about UConn: It's not considered part of the New England sports landscape. The University of Connecticut is in Storrs, Conn., and does not attract a Boston following."

Two years earlier, on March 20, 2009, it was: "Storrs, Conn., might as well be Oyster Bay, Long Island, for all we care. There is simply no connection between Greater Boston and the UConn campus. UConn is to New England sports what prime rib is to Thanksgiving dinner. . . . It just doesn't belong there."

Shaughnessy returns to this theme with the regularity of a fly returning to . . . well, we all know what flies like to return to. It's hard to imagine what satisfaction he gets from it. It's not accurate, of course, but, worse, it's dull. I would call it unworthy, too, but I've never met the man. It may be the best he can do.

Shaughnessy's unhappiness with Connecticut apparently has something to do with our success in college sports, and the notable lack of success in recent decades among colleges in and around Boston. Up there, there hasn't been a big college sports story since Harry Agganis tossed the pigskin for BU. Harvard is good at squash, but nothing like our own unbeatable Trinity in Hartford. Boston College likes to think it's good in football, but it's never made it to a BCS bowl game like UConn did last season. As far as college basketball is concerned - with Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, UMass, Holy Cross, et al. - there's nothing. Crickets.

So the UConn men's win in Houston earlier this week was yet another bitter pill for D.S. to swallow. Including the men's and women's programs, it was UConn's 10th national title in the last 17 years. It was the third time both men's and women's teams have been in the Final Four together. No team in Shaughnessy's singular version of New England has been in the Final Four at all, at least not since Holy Cross made it in 1948.

So here's lookin' at you, Dan, from No Man's Land here in between New York and Boston. I'd invite you down for the victory parade, but I see the Red Sox are off to an 0-6 start. Clearly, your place is with them.

How Do You Like It Now, Dan?

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