Foxboro, FootBall, and Change

Mighty MaxWhen I meet someone new, the conversation always goes like this.

“So, where are you from?”


“Really? Foxboro?! You must be a Patriots fan!”

“Patriots? Ummm…”

I always hate the disappointed look on their face.

I’ve always been an avid follower of science, science fiction and progressive political theories – as opposed to sports. In retrospect, it’s been a hard, as in bad, choice. I live to discuss politics and utopian social themes but whenever I start, everyone immediately leaves the room. And, after, when the conversation turns happily to football, or one of those other sports; my eyes glaze over; and I quietly excuse myself and go do the dishes.

“You might need an intervention, Mom.” Mused one son. “Maybe we should issue a grandson challenge. Which grandson can get Ane to watch and understand football?”

I can just picture it.

Abel would furrow his brow, think for a long moment and then provide a firm, concise, and well-considered answer. “No.”

Max, on the other hand, would be very enthusiastic.

“Ane. Sit down Ane. Pay attention. Ane! Shut your computer!” He would carefully explain everything and follow-though with a quiz. Probably during the commercials…

Augie would smile, shrug, sit in my lap and proceed to steal all my chips and guacamole.

“Kids, I think I’m OK…” I’d replied hastily.

“Guy’s…” my husband would caution. “Dishes…messy kitchen…don’t mess up a good thing…”

I am thinking about this because the last few weeks have not been kind to me.

I first realized that something was up when my sons and husband, who are normally normal people, and restrained about the whole sports thing started making an inordinate amount of noise on Super Bowl Sunday. That day, I had happily cooked, cleaned, and done iPad puzzles with Abel, who was also not really enthused about the game. Then, after Abel and Augie had been put to bed, I headed into the TV room, sat down with my computer and anticipated watching the commercials. But everyone kept yelling. So I went upstairs to bed. All that noise hurt my ears.

I was happily reading a mystery when my husband came up and, somewhat inexplicably, started explaining the end of the game to me. This is what I recall of the conversation.

“Wow! Wow! It’ll go down in history! They were at the 5 yard line!”

I glanced longingly at my book and thought silently… “Who? They? What’s a 5 yard line?”

“They didn’t run for a touchdown! They threw the ball and it was intercepted and after the unbelievable catch they had made. You should have seen it! It bounced off his’s head, onto his stomach, onto his elbow, and he caught it!!!”

I gripped my book and thought. “What? Who caught…the ball…? A Patriot? The other guys?”

“And then the game ran out…There were only 18 seconds left!”

I thought… “Is there some strange 18-second rule? …When will I be able to get back to my book?”

I frowned and said, “Who won?” Who were the Patriots playing?”

So today, I am engaged in an existential debate. It’s snowing, and I can’t leave the house, It’s a beautiful, peaceful day, and I have nothing to do except read the Internet.

I could actually read about the game… Should I? Would this be the first step in a slippery slope? Would I stop being me? All of my children watched the Super Bowl, and I’m not sure who is left in my anti-sports circle…Plus, Deflate-gate. That might have been my gateway drug. I listened to Tom Brady’s press conference during a particularly boring commute. He sounded kinda cute. There was an intoxicating mix of science, statistics, and conspiracy theories; sufficient to warm the heart of any desperate columnist… I opened a chink in my amour.

“Would you love me more if I watched football?” I asked my husband.

“I couldn’t possibly love you more.” He replied hastily, thinking about our surprisingly clean kitchen.

Change is hard…Should I move? Ask Max for help? Or…just spend the day writing an article about how hard it is to live in Foxboro, and not be a football fan.

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