The South Florida Patriots Fan’s First Game; Experience

A few weeks ago I experienced my first game at Gillette Stadium, and while the outcome of the game wasn’t what I had hoped for, it was worth the wait. 

When I was 8 years old, I moved from Danbury, Connecticut to South Florida. I lived in Connecticut from the age of 2 to 8, the years I refer to as my “fandom fundamental” years. Although the six years I lived there weren’t enough to deem me a New England native, they were enough to dig my roots as a Boston sports fan. Living on the New York side of Connecticut, I was surrounded by Giants/Yankees fans, but I chose to root for the Patriots and the Red Sox (I’ve never really gotten into the Bruins and have had a complicated relationship with the Celtics.) 

During my 12 years in Florida, I’ve watched the Red Sox win two World Series and the Patriots win three Super Bowls. I don’t get much flack for being a Sox fan, but the Pats fan typically isn’t very popular around here. For five Super Bowls, I’ve been surrounded by Patriot haters. I’ve been told that I root for “the bad guys”, that Belichick and Brady “make the league boring”, and that New England is a “cheating organization.” I’ve also been told that I’ve lived in Florida long enough that I should be rooting for the hometown team instead. But what am I supposed to do, lay down my flag and switch allegiances? I might not be in New England, but that doesn’t mean I can just flip a switch in my brain and forget all of my experiences as a fan. I’ve felt it all with this team, and even though the good has outweighed the bad, that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Being a fan of such a successful franchise makes losing that much harder because you realize that it’s not just a loss, but a week full of anti-Patriots banter — all of the smack talk and the statements about the Brady/Belichick dynasty coming to an end. At times, it can be a lot to endure. I can’t possibly throw away all of the emotions this team has caused me. 

 
I knew that my time to see Tom Brady in person was ticking away. I’m just about as big of a Brady fan as there is, but I’m reasonable. I understand that the chances this was Brady’s last regular-season game in a Pats jersey are real. So, I put on my number 12 jersey and soaked in the experience. It’s an understatement to say that I was fired up inside to watch Tom run out of the tunnel and give out his pre-game “let’s go” cry last Sunday at Gillette. I have watched Tom’s passion and drive on TV for years, but he’s even more electric in person. It was an excitement unlike any other. I got to see the guy I have idolized since I could understand how sports worked; the guy who worked year after year to perfect his craft. It was surreal. His ability to galvanize the entire stadium was indescribable. And the end result of the game doesn’t take away from the fact that I will always be able to say that I finally got to see Tom Brady, the greatest competitor the sports world has ever seen, go out and do his thing. 

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