WITH ALL the moaning, jeering and debate concerning Quarterback Tom Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I have become nostalgic about how star professional athletes were once as closely associated with certain cities as were landmarks. I mean, well, Ted Williams once owned the same sense of place in the American mind as did Boston Common. Stan Musial had a spiritual stature akin to the Saint Louis Arch. And Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford were as New York as the Empire State Building.

To the locals of the team’s hometown there belonged a sense of familial ties, to rival regions lessons in distant geography, culture, and tradition.

I am a baby boomer, a member of that voluminous tribe born between 1946 and 1964. Those were the years before free agency in professional sports. Team owners essentially owned their players. Terms of contract and compensation were only slightly less dictatorial than, say, the U.S. military.

Players back then were not millionaires. Most had off-season jobs and there were certainly issues of fair labor practices for professional athletes.

But this medieval system of sports business possessed an upside for us fans. Most of the players from last year would be back this year. There might be some new faces, but there was not wholesale change. We seemed to actually know most of the guys for years at a time, for an era.

There were rookies of course, and there were occasional trades and retirements. And sometimes a veteran, who had been the face of the hometown team but is traded away for youthful hopes, would try to escape Father Time and eke out another year or two with another outfit. But Johnny Unitas had been Baltimore and Bobby Orr had been Boston, who even remembers their last seasons elsewhere? Those days of exile were usually elegiac for the old timers, reminding one of Gloria Swanson’s classic “Sunset Boulevard” portrayal of an aging actress unaware that her sun has indeed set.

A similar debate is on about Tom Brady, one of the few sports issues available to talk about with COVID-19 restrictions suspending most sport competitions.

In my boyhood there were the following fixed associations, which were as much a part of youthful routine life as trading cards, blacked-out TV broadcasts for the home team, pick-up games with no umpires and plenty of juvenile arguments:

Detroit = Al Kaline

Cleveland = Jim Brown

Chicago = Ernie Banks

Green Bay (somewhere out there) = Bart Star (and Vince Lombardi, of course)

Baltimore = Brooks Robinson

Boston = Bob Cousy and Bill Russell

Teams also were less prone to move to new municipalities, but that changed too. Alas.

But back to Brady. Actually, I am one who has not bought off that Tom Brady is actually the proverbial G.O.A.T. While I think he has owned the greatest situational awareness of any quarterback ever and that his arm is incredibly quick, powerful and accurate, Tom was never very mobile. He did not have to be. And I am not sure he and some others fully appreciated the amazing system of players assembled about him. Not just talented individuals, but a whole much greater than the sum of parts, year in and year out.

I actually feel a bit sorry for Number 12. Voluntarily decamping to Tampa, Tom will never own New England hearts and minds the way Ted Williams still does 60 years after his final home run in his final at-bat — at Fenway Park where he started out.

And speaking of things that last, that tendency also endures among adult sports fans, whose argumentation often remains quite juvenile. I speak from personal guilt.

Ray Brown is a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain and security consultant living in Londonderry.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

MAY IS Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — a time to reflect upon and engage with the unique problems these ailments bring to everyday life. From the general misery of congestion to the terrifying reality of shortness of breath, thousands of Americans throughout New Hampshire struggle to co…

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

AS New Hampshire and her neighboring states begin to address the process of reopening retail, restaurants, state offices and business of all kinds, the details of how to do so in a manner that preserves our economy and our personal health is causing significant consternation for many. The id…

THESE last two months have been unlike any in my lifetime. It’s humbling to be reminded how, in the 21st century, there is still little we control and how we are not as all-knowing as we think. Pandemics, it turns out, are great equalizers. No one is immune from the sadness, pain and loss th…

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A SCHOOL BUS driver, shoe store worker, car salesperson, factory worker, restaurant server, landscaper, dental assistant, online college instructor, dog breeder, hairdresser, hospital administrator, state employee, auto mechanic, construction foreman, child care teacher, janitor, cook, nanny…

NEW HAMPSHIRE’s stay-at-home order was issued March 16th. More than two months later we continue to face serious restrictions that limit our ability to earn a living, our freedom of assembly, and right to worship as we see fit. The continuation of this state of emergency not only inflicts ha…

Friday, May 22, 2020

ON MAY 18, the New Hampshire Union Leader published an oped “Sex work is not work” by Jasmine Grace, founder of Jasmine Grace Outreach, one of many organizations raising awareness about human trafficking by conflating it with adult consensual prostitution.

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

GRANITE STATERS believe in liberty — it’s even enshrined in our state motto. A core tenant of liberty is the right to privacy. It is not a coincidence that New Hampshire is a national leader on privacy rights. The right to live, work, and go about one’s business without governmental intrusio…

THE ORIGIN of the phrase “No shirt, no shoes, no service” is likely a dubious response to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but it has become separated from its discriminatory purpose. This phrase can now be pressed into service during the COVID 19 crisis with a modest change: Add a …

Monday, May 18, 2020

I’VE ALWAYS had a negative impression of superstores: cold, impersonal, dull. Everywhere I’ve lived, (San Francisco, London, Seattle, now New York City) I’ve mostly shopped local and tried to support small businesses. Overall, I’ve led a very sheltered, urban retail life.

IF WE focus only on what social media tells us, we are to believe that crime is uncontrollable and overly violent right now. Though crime rates are actually dropping, one thing that social media does have correct is their coverage of rape and sexual assault, two things that have been increasing.

ON MAY 7, the New Hampshire Union Leader published a Reuters article on its back page with the catchy title “Streetwalkers to Sweet Talkers” outlining the dilemma Chile’s prostitutes face under Covid-19 now that they cannot engage in the “intimate” aspect of their trade.