The scene on Boston’s Tremont Street was hectic, just as it was all over the city yesterday. The Boston Bruins, recently crowned Stanley Cup Champions, took to the streets in Boston’s “Duck Boats”, which can travel on land and water. Approximately a million fans showed up for the parade to congratulate the team and show their support.
I headed into the city around 9 a.m., taking the city’s transportation system, the “T”. T officials allowed riders to get on the trains for free to avoid a pileup to buy tickets. There was no room on the train after the first two stops. Everyone was wearing black and gold. My sister and I ended up squeezed into a corner. It was probably my worst train experience ever.
We made it to Tremont Street around 10:20. The parade was scheduled to start at 11. The crowd was already huge. We walked along the left side of the street, observing the scene. We took a spot in front of the curb in front of a Sovereign Bank building. About twenty feet from us was someone dressed in old-school goalie equipment and the famous Gerry Cheevers-style mask. He posed for photos on top of an electrical box with a girl who looked slightly embarrassed about the whole thing.
Foot traffic was flowing smoothly in front of us and behind us until about 10:45, when some people stopped and gave up on finding a quieter spot. This caused a lot of yelling and swearing from people who wanted to keep moving down the road. Numerous people brought their small children in strollers, a curious decision that contributed greatly to the slowdown. By 11, most had accepted their current spot. As police swept the street and a church bell rang, the anticipation grew.
Finally, the first Duck Boat appeared, and it was the most important one. Captain Zdeno Chara and playoff MVP Tim Thomas were on the top of the boat, carrying the Stanley Cup with them. The roar was deafening. Chara and Thomas both lifted the Cup high over their heads, drawing the loudest cheers. Later in the parade, Chara took the Cup down to the street, allowing fans along the street to touch it.
Seventeen more Duck Boats followed. Most carried at least one player. Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron got the biggest cheers. Just like Chara, later Marchand would jump out of his boat and run along the street high-fiving fans. A few of the boats did not carry players, but did carry team personnel. Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edward, known for his over-the-top style, got a big response from the crowd.
After the last boat moved through not many people moved. There wasn’t any room to go anywhere. Finally, after fifteen minutes of waiting, my sister and I were able to escape back to the train station. The train back was less crowded than the first, but not by much. Luckily we were able to get seats. We headed home tired and hungry but moved by the outpouring of support for the Bruins.
On a personal note, the parade was an amazing experience. I’ve been a Bruins fan my entire life, but I’m not old enough to have seen the glory days of Orr and Esposito. Listening to stories of those teams, and the way they ruled the city like kings, made me wish that the Bruins had more support in the city. In recent years, they’ve lagged behind the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox. But yesterday, more fans showed up to support the Bruins than for any championship rally in Boston in the past decade. It was unreal how much black and gold there was in the crowd. The Bruins were kings of the city yesterday, and that might not change for a while.