Tuesday, February 07, 2017

When it came right down to it, of course I rooted for them

Trust me when i say that I would have been just fine if the Atlanta Falcons had won Super Bowl. I enjoy football, but I’m not that major a fan. If the Pats hadn’t gotten good – make that great – during the Belichick-Brady era, it’s doubtful that I would have watched much – make that any – football over the past decade in a half. I don’t recall watching any Super Bowls before the Patriots got good – make that great. But the team has been exciting during the Age of B-B, and – as a general purpose sports fan (and one who understands football and who watched a lot of it as a kid), I was drawn in.

So if the Pats had lost, I might have been mildly disappointed. But I wouldn’t have shed any tears or lost any sleep over it. Thus, by halftime this past Sunday, when I looked like the Pats were going to be majorly blown out, I was just sitting there with my numbers from the squares in the gym pool, hoping that, if the Pats continued to so thoroughly suck, I would at least have a chance to make some money.

Even though I’m pretty lightweight by football fan standards, my natural inclination would, of course, be to root for the home town honeys.

After all, what bona fide New Englander wouldn’t want to see the look on NFL head Roger Goodell’s face when he handed the Super Bowl trophy to Bob Kraft, and the Super Bowl MVP trophy to Our Tom. (Even if Tom was enough of a knucklehead to display that MAGA cap in his locker.) After all, if you live in New England, there is NO WAY that you don’t despise Roger Goodell, after the over-the-top “punishments” meted out to the Pats in general and Our Tom in particular in the wake of the ridonculous Deflategate situation.

On the other hand, this year, the Trump Connection was giving me pause.

I realize that most of the buddy-buddy talk was coming out of Trump’s mouth, not out of the mouths of any of the Big Three: owner Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady. All three did admit to being friends (or golfing pals) of Trump, but certainly none of them came out with any big endorsement statements. Still, it seems that they were pal-y enough with him to ignore all the many warning signs that there was something gang agley with Trump. Okay.I can do the hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner with the best of them. I was after all able to root for the Cubs in the World Series even though the owners were major Trumpsters. But, yeah, Trump’s love affair with the Patriots did give me pause. (And it did make me feel a bit icky when white supremacist Richard Spencer went on a tweet-fest about how wonderful the Patriots win was because the team is so white.And because Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bundchen represent the best of whiteness. Not sure whether the Pats are, as Spencer claimed, the whitest team in the NFL. As of 2014, it wasn’t the Patriots, it was the Eagles. And I’m pretty sure the Pats are color-blind. Sure, they have some white stars. But they also have some black stars. While Tom Brady dominated the game – quarterbacks tend to do that – the second most notable Patriots player in the game was James White. Who isn’t white; he’s black.)

But Trump Connection aside, I go back to my lukewarm-ish fandom to reinforce the point that I wouldn’t have been particularly bummed out if the Pats had lost.

The bottom line was that I was half-heartedly pulling for the Pats. But a loss wouldn’t have been a crusher.

Anyway through quite of a bit of the game, it was looking my heartfelt lack of interest in the game’s outcome was a good thing.

But it really is impossible to watch any sort of sporting event and get any pleasure whatsoever out of it if you don’t pick a side. And when the glimmers of hope started glinting late in the game, I was sitting there with my sister and a couple of friends, screaming my head off with the best of them.

For those who manage to turn off news entirely, the Patriots won what is being deemed the greatest Super Bowl comeback, a sudden death win, with the Pats coming out on top by a score of 34-28, after having been behind by a score of 28-3.

Yes, the Pats got lucky, and the Falcons got tuckered out. But in all my years of sports fandom, I have rarely seen a display of mental toughness like that put on by the Patriots, and rarely seen a display of mental toughness and technical execution like that put on by Our Tom once the Patriots got their groove on and the Falcons lost theirs entirely.

I was delighted to hear the boos the rained down on the head of Roger Goodell as he quickly and clumsily handed the Super Bowl trophy to Bob Kraft, while Our Tom and Bill Belichick appeared to be chortling in the background. (Ditto to watch Goodell on Monday when he had to give the game MVP award to Brady. AWK-ward for Goodell. Brady appeared to be enjoying himself no end.)

Today will be the duckboat celebration parade for the Patriots. The weather is supposed to be miserable, but I suspect I’ll take in a couple of minutes of it.

Let the rest of the country hate on The Great. Let them hate on The Great out of jealousy. Out of pique at Trump. Out of overblown reaction to any rumor (let alone evidence) that the only way the Pats win is by cheating. Out of annoyance at the arrogance and general obnoxiousness of Belichick. (I get it.) Out of annoyance at the too-good-to-be-true-ness of Mr. Perfection, Our Tom. (I get it.) Let ‘em.

I’ll be enjoying the celebration. When it comes right down to it, I’m delighted that the Patriots won.

And, as a true-blue baseball fan, I’m even more delighted that yesterday was Truck Day, when the Red Sox equipment got loaded on a truck for its journey to spring training in Florida. Looking forward to the clarion call of Play Ball!

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