Faith and ingenuity were put to the test Thursday as Boston sports fans faced a rare quandary: would the Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins playing showcase events on the same day prove to be a sweet coincidence or a curse of riches.
Imagine learning your three children are scheduled to graduate on the same day from different schools.
Do you tell them, “Sorry, Xander and Zdeno, but this is Tom’s day.”?
Or, “Trust me. I will find a way.’’?
Anxiety, thy name is Scheduling Conflict. For Boston sports diehards, there was no eluding the hard truth that even the most gifted multiscreen-viewing savant would struggle to stay true to all three teams by watching in real time:
■ Every nuance of the title-hungry Red Sox, who lost, 8-2, to the Astros in Houston in Game 1 of the AL Division Series (first pitch: 4:08 p.m.);
■ Every flick of the puck as the Bruins opened their season at TD Garden with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, the defending Western Conference champions (puck drop: 7 p.m.);
■ Every snap of the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots’ 19-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida (kickoff: 8:25 p.m.).
The only guaranteed winners were Boston’s sports bars. Another beverage, please, and another plate of . . .
The last time Bostonians confronted such a scheduling quirk, on Oct. 7, 1990, the experience ended bleakly. At 11:57 p.m., Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley finished mowing down the Sox at Fenway Park to preserve a 4-1 victory in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series — a series the A’s would sweep.
Earlier that autumn Sunday, the hapless Patriots dropped an afternoon game in Foxborough to the Seahawks, 33-20, en route to a 1-15 finish.
The only consolation: the Bruins skated past the Quebec Nordiques, 5-2, north of the border.
The precise number of Boston fans who love equally the Sox, Patriots, and Bruins has yet to calculated. But it’s fair to say that thousands of the city’s sports fans Thursday altered their schedules to begin seven-plus hours of viewing in allegiance to their beloved teams.