Why would anyone root for the New England Patriots?

Some guy has come up with a spin on being a Patriots fan that got published in the Washington Post. He felt sorry for Atlanta fans last year, and he thinks Patriots fans have been made miserable by their success.

The typical Patriots fan, on the other hand, was miserable with success by then, our blood long since curdled and our spines crooked with the glut of good fortune. Anything less than a Super Bowl win last year, as this year, would be considered a failure.

Being a fan is an interesting psychological condition. For me, as with most people (I don’t know about the Post writer), it’s tied up with my childhood. For most of my Boston childhood, we didn’t even have a football team. We saw the Giants play on TV every Sunday, and that turned some kids into Giants fans. But what did I care about Frank Gifford and Y. A. Tittle?

Then we got a team in the American Football League, so I had to root for the Patriots, and the league. I saw them play at Fenway Park. I saw them play at B.C.’s Alumni Field. But the Patriots were no good. They were never any good. They played in the AFL championship game in 1963, and they got clobbered. After the merger with the NFL they still sucked. Finally when I was in my thirties they made it to a Super Bowl, and they got clobbered yet again. When I was in my forties they returned to the Super Bowl, and the clobbering continued.

Meanwhile coaches and owners came and went. Now it’s 2001 and I’m middle-aged, maybe beyond middle age, and my team has never accomplished anything.

Then came the Tuck Rule Game, and the football gods finally started to smile on the Patriots–40 years after I became a fan. It was about time. Seventeen years later, the gods are still smiling on the Patriots. Do I feel sorry for Atlanta fans and Philadelphia fans and Buffalo fans and all the rest? A little, I guess. Not enough to change my ways, though.

Go Pats!

A very regretful comment

Here we see Houston Texans’ owner Bob McNair apologizing for his “regretful” comment about the inmates running the prison when they kneel during the national anthem:

He is, of course, regretful; his comment is regrettable. So, not only is he a rich jerk; he also doesn’t know correct usage. (I’m also not thrilled about his use of “impact” as a verb, and he needs a comma before “which”.) Also, you kids need to get off my lawn.

Thomas Becket and Deflategate

Everyone is asking me what I think about Deflategate.

Well, my wife asked me, so that’s a start.  Anyway, my theory is that Brady is King Henry, uttering “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” in frustration at the actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket.  In NFL-speak, this comes out as: “I sure like my balls underinflated.”

And the ballboys interpreted this innocent remark as a royal command: Tom likes his balls underinflated.  We must make it so. So one of them takes the balls into the men’s room at Canterbury Cathedral and . . . well, you get the picture.

In this scenario, Brady is, of course, totally blameless.  When he finds out what has happened — when he sees the infamously false Chris Mortensen tweet — he is outraged.  They have gone too far!  But what can he do?  He is too noble to turn on his loyal retainers.  So he maintains his silence as to their deed, and correctly asserts his innocence when brought to trial.  Perhaps he gives the retainers some Uggs as a reward for their service.  What a guy!

Really, he’s the one who should become a saint, not Thomas Becket.

Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm; but we’ll always have memories of Malcolm Butler to keep us warm

This latest snowstorm has changed my poetical mood from A.A. Milne to Ezra Pound:

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ’gainst the winter’s balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

The problem now is that there’s nowhere left to put the stuff you need to shovel.

On the other hand, here are some fan reactions to Malcolm Butler’s interception in the Super Bowl.  Trigger warning: lots of profanity.  Also, may not be suitable for Seahawks fans.

We saw the game in the company of these lovely young women, whose parents were at the game.  Our reaction to the interception was comparable to some of those in the video, and I’m not sure the girls made the most noise.

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Just another day in New England sports…

I love amateur videos like these.

Here is Gillette Stadium in Foxboro at around 7:30:


Here is Fenway Park in Boston about four hours later:

A guy at work has season’s tickets for both the Red Sox and the Patriots.  He went to the Saturday night game where the Red Sox managed just one hit, and he left the Patriots game before Brady’s spectacular pass. And he gave away his tickets to the now legendary Big Papi Grand Slam game.  That’s life . . .

A thought about parenthood, with an illustration from the life of DeSean Jackson

Kid number 1 has graduated from college, and kid number 2 has turned 21.  So the question naturally arises: Are we done yet?

We would really like to answer yes — this stuff is hard!  We want to relax and watch HGTV reruns!  But that’s absurd.  And whenever we’re tempted to do a victory lap, we recall the scene from the movie Parenthood where Jason Robards has just had to deal with his ne’er-do-well 20-something son, played by Tom Hulce.  Talking about it with his other son (Steve Martin), he says something like: “Parenthood isn’t football.  You never get into the end zone.  You never get to spike the ball.”

This seems like deep wisdom to me.  And nowadays we have an illustration of that wisdom.  As we all know from the movie Silver Linings Playbook, DeSean Jackson is the man:

But DeSean Jackson is not without his flaws.  And here is one of them, on display for all Monday Night Football viewers to see:

Even in football, where you can spike the ball (at least in the pros), you can’t spike it too soon, or you’ll be held up to the ridicule of two million YouTube viewers.  (Technically, I suppose what Jackson did was not a spike; Jackson is too cool to just spike the ball.  But you get my point.)  So we parents have to learn from his mistake.  Life is long (we hope) and filled with milestones, happy and sad.  We get to celebrate the happy ones, but we always have to be prepared for the next one, whatever it may be.  Because that’s the way the game is played.