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.