The sun rose bright in Boston Monday morning, fending off one final chilly surge from old man winter. Runners of the 112th Boston Marathon were ascending Heartbreak Hill and charging down Copley Square. Manny Ramirez and the reigning champion Red Sox were taking batting practice at Fenway, preparing to lay the wood to the lowly Texas Rangers. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen shot around at the TD Banknorth Garden, fresh off a 104-91 playoff pasting of the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden the night before. It was Patriots Day in Beantown, and Boston was one David Tyree Super Bowl circus catch from being Title Town heaven.

Assume for one moment that the Patriots did not find a way to lose Super Bowl XLII. We are more than likely talking about Boston teams pulling off an unprecedented sweep of America’s three main sports. The Sox already captured the Fall Classic, the Pats are a perfect 19-0, and the Celtics own the most powerful triumvirate since Caesar, Crassus and Pompey and the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Throw in the recent come-to-Jesus with Bill Buckner, and Boston is suddenly the sports world’s city on the hill.

But it didn’t happen. The karmic wheel windmilled Bill Belichick in the mouth, and now Bostonians may have to settle for a ho-hum World Series and, more than likely, a possible NBA Title. (I’m sure they’ll still find something to complain about.)

But wait! Don’t put away the broom just yet – there’s still another sweep to be had! That’s right; the city of Miami could possibly finish the calendar year with the three worst teams in the professional arena.

The Dolphins finished 1-15, and it took a last gasp in overtime to get their single win. They were the only NFL team to lose in two countries, fired Coach Cam Cameron after one year, and then lost the last game ever at the Orange Bowl, a flag football match with the Miami Hurricanes.

To say the Heat crawled to the finish would be unfair to babies. Dwayne Wade and co. were carried helplessly across on a gurney, tying the franchise record for futility at 15-67. Two years ago, they were world champs. Now, they are at the mercy of draft lottery ping pong balls. Wade has two appendages on the mend and has been spending way too much time around Charles Barkley to fully heal. Alonzo Mourning is more than likely going to retire, and figuring Pat Riley was on the bench for about one-fifth of the Heat games this season, the Hall of Fame coach may not be too far behind. Oh, and they traded Shaq. For Shawn Marion.

“They haven’t been putting a product on the floor that’s representative of NBA basketball,” Jeff Van Gundy said this weekend while calling playoff basketball for ABC. “They had absolutely nothing go right – I mean nothing,” added Jeff’s brother and former Heat coach Stan, who has an up-close look at the carnage from his new home as coach of the Orlando Magic.

Now it’s up to the Florida Marlins, who were the consensus cellar pick in the National League East, to hit for the cycle.

Yes, I know the Fish are currently first in their division. Yes, I am aware that Florida held its own last season, going 19-18 against the four National League playoff teams. But I also know that the ’07 Marlins had Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, who are now in Detroit. And I know that this year’s team’s early success might have something to do with the fact that they’ve gone 8-4 against the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals – the NL’s three worst teams. They are 1-2 so far against division power New York, and if Hanley Ramirez goes down, the Marlins will be sleeping with the fishes.

It’s been a while since one city has been subjected to such suffering. Bostonians can whine about their curses, but they had two Celtics dynasties during those 86 years. Don’t even start, Chicago, with your sob story about Steve Bartman and the stupid goat. The Cubs just became only the second baseball franchise to win 10,000 games. The Bears have nine NFL titles, and you had a decade and a half with the greatest basketball player of all time. No Cleveland team has won a championship since 1964, but the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers have all come close. Across the map – Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix, a team from at least one of these cities has had a pulse at one time or another.

Things have to be pretty bad before “miserable” and “South Beach” are used in the same breath, but that’s what it is to be a sports fan along I-95 these days.

Some rays of sunshine: 1) Bill Parcells is now running the Dolphins. Too bad this is the old, cranky Bill Parcells who rarely moves and subsists on Pepto Bismol milkshakes and peanut butter straight from the jar. He didn’t exactly make fans feel warm and fuzzy during his last stop in Dallas, and his first move in Miami was to jettison fan favorite Zach Thomas. 2) The Miami Heat have a solid “core” of Ricky Davis, Dorell Wright and Jason “White Chocolate” Williams – the cancer, cholera and mad cow disease to team chemistry, respectively. 3) Andrew Miller, the young southpaw the Marlins got for Willis, has a 7.94 ERA. 4) Fins starting running back Ronnie Brown is recovering from major knee injury. 5) The Fins second-string running back is Ricky Williams. 5) Jake Long! The Roseanne Barr of sexy first-round draft picks.

Ain’t no sunshine in the Sunshine State these days. But there is always hope. Heat fans, take heart in the fact that Davis, Dorell and “White Chocolate” are all free agents and could infect other teams next season. And Heat GM Randy Pfund signed Penny Hardaway before the 2008 season, so while he may not have a brain, he at least has a great sense of humor. Marlins faithful, enjoy first place while it lasts, and remember that the front office has fire-saled the team twice, and both times the Marlins came back to win the World Series. Not to mention Florida scouts get first dibs on each crop of ultra-talented defectors that arrive from Cuba each day. Fins followers, remember you still own the one thing Belichick and the rest of pro football covet: the perfect season. Other than that, it may get worse before it gets better.

Until then, start thinking of how you’re going to surgically remove the brown paper bag from your head.

Harlan Goode is a senior in the College. He can be reached at The Goode Worde appears every Friday in HOYA SPORTS.

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