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Book review: Halloran’s “Rings” is a fun, detailed trip down memory lane

Man, there have been a LOT of championships in Boston lately...

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Milwaukee Brewers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

(Full disclosure: we were given a review copy of this book.)

Book: “Count the Rings!”

Author: Bob Halloran

Publisher: Lyons Press, 2017

What a difference a decade makes, eh?

When the 2000’s began, the city of Boston was mired in a serious championship drought. The Bruins hadn’t won since the 70’s, the Celtics since the 80’s.

The Patriots had been hapless, and the Red Sox...well, everyone knew about them.

Then 2001 happened, and Tom Brady and the Patriots kicked off what has been a non-stop thrill ride for Boston sports fans.

That ride is detailed in the new book “Count the Rings! Inside Boston’s Wicked Awesome Reign as the City of Champions” by veteran Boston sportscaster Bob Halloran.

We know that many of our readers come from outside the Boston area, but the majority of you are also fans of the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. This book is for you.

What’s interesting about Halloran’s book is the number of small details that kicked up nostalgia for me.

With ten major sports championships since 2001, it’s easy to forget about the little things: Mike Vrabel catching a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLIX, Celtics fans developing a hatred for Zaza Pachulia in 2008, Willie McGinest getting “injured” as time ran out to get a free time out against the Colts in 2003.

Reading through this book reminded me of so many moments, minor and major, that made these seasons special.

In fact, in the middle of reading it, I headed to YouTube and fell down a major nostalgia hole: Manny Ramirez hitting a walk-off against the Angels. Troy Brown fumbling, then the Patriots recovering, against the Chargers. The Bruins opening the 2010-2011 season in Prague.

“Rings!” is broken up into ten different sections, one for each title. Each section features a breakdown of the playoff series prior to the titles, full-color photography, quotes and interviews from the major players and a full recap of the moments leading up to the celebrations.

Halloran does a great job chronicling the seasons and the storylines without things getting too long.

What about the Bruins?

We were given this book to review because, of course, it featured a section on the 2011 Bruins.

Halloran begins the Bruins section with a concise chronicle of what led up to that season: the blown 3-0 lead against Philly, Cam Neely being promoted, Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell being acquired, Tyler Seguin being drafted...2010 was a busy summer.

Halloran also brings up something I’d forgotten: that season began with Tuukka Rask owning the starting goalie job. It seems crazy to think that at this point, knowing the kind of season Tim Thomas had in 2011, but it was true: it was Rask’s job to lose, and he lost it.

Some interesting notes from the Bruins chapter:

  • The Bruins were in eighth place in the East in December. Normally, the final standings don’t change a ton after American Thanksgiving, but the Bruins went on a tear to get back in a more comfortable position.
  • The 6-0 road trip in February was the “hey, maybe this team is legit” moment for many fans. The 3-0 sweep of western Canada was especially surprising.
  • I completely forgot the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty incident occurred during the Stanley Cup season. Can’t help but wonder how things would have gone if Pacioretty had been able to play in that series...
  • Another forgotten moment: the NHL publicly announcing that anyone doing finger taunting after Game 3 of the Final would get a minor and a 10-minute misconduct. Man, that was a fun series.

This chapter also features a number of great quotes from guys like Mark Recchi, Tim Thomas and Chara.

Chances are you still have plenty of vivid memories from this season, but this book will help kick up a few others.

Final thoughts

This book is a great read for any Boston sports fan, especially with the holidays coming up. If you’re more of a Bruins-only fan, this might not be for you, due to their sole championship (2013 still stings, man).

However, if you grew up alternating between bleeding (depending on the season) green, red, gold and navy blue, this book will be like a trip down memory lane, whether it’s through your childhood or through adulthood.

That was the best part of this book for me, really: realizing how much had happened from the first memory (Adam Vinatieri’s field goal in 2001) to the most recent (Dont’a Hightower’s strip sack in February).

I was barely a teenager when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2001. I watched that game with my friends, and had my friend’s mother watch me walk back up the street to my house.

I watched the most recent title with my fiancee and family, including a niece who was a couple of months old.

The sports world is the common thread that ties a lot of these happy family and friend memories together, and Halloran’s book does a great job taking you back to those moments.

When you finish a chapter, don’t be surprised if you have a smile on your face. Just don’t get too lost in that YouTube nostalgia trip.

Get your own copy

We’ll be giving away a copy of this book to one of our readers in the coming days. Stay tuned!

“Rings!” was released in October 2017 and is available at most major booksellers, including Amazon.