Dear Fred, Paul, Andy, Kevin, and that other guy:
Andy asked me to call in after I donated to his Marathon Fund. I decided to write instead because I don’t think my story will make for good radio. Still I felt compelled to share it because there are probably lots of others like me.
My father, a sculptor always had a studio in our house. The after school soundtrack of my life was whichever two yahoos he was listening to on sports radio yelling at each other. It was AM in those days, and his reception in his large steel girded building was poor despite purchasing every antenna boosting mechanism on the market.
Their voices were alternately tinny and bellowing with burst of static for extra annoyance. Yet over time they became soothing. He tolerated the red sox talk, but loved the Celtics and most of all the Patriots. This was in the late seventies and early eighties, before Refrigerator Perry and our almost burying of the bears. He loved a scrappy underdog and this was an entire team of them.
I liked the green of the Celtics. My second garde journals were filled with love letters to Nate Archibalnd and musing over whether or not Chris Ford had a perm. (Merited and merited, even with hindsight being what it is.)
We never went to a game. In addition to being an artist my father was a bit of a shut in, made stronger in his later life. Also coming to a head was his lack of tolerance with the way basketball as a professional sport. Its paydays began to upset him, and when Larry Bird was over so was his superfandom. Which left the pats.
When I went away to college it was in RI. This made my fanatacism easy. Even in a school of liberal humanitarians there were enough of us that wanted to watch grown men put on costumes and throw their bodies around with abandon. (Actually, put that way I wonder if the game had a dual draw.)
In any case the only way I could get my father to talk to me on the phone was about the pats, so I subscribed to the Globe and kept up our patter.
I moved for a year after college to Brookline and walking by the Harvard Square news stand I spied Patriots Football weekly. This and Direct TV got me through the next 5 years. I moved to Vermont in 1996 and learned that Vermont evidently didn’t consider itself to be part of New England. Some lifetime ago the Giants had trained in the Champlain Valley and every single good old boy who should have been a Patriots fan rooted for the wrong red and blue. The disloyalty shocked me. The bar arguments entertained me.
I subscribed to PFW even though it often arrived after the game had been played. I checked on the success rate of the penny and laughed at the reporters. I was preccient after the fact.
The first superbowl run of my clear memory came that first year in Vermont and I am pleased to tell you that even the networks covered it. I am not pleased with the outcome. My father had become friends with Kraft’s ex business partner and the guy chartered a plane from logan and got him seats in the box with the governor. That game was played in New Orleans, my father’s home town. A huge storm kept the game grounded and my dad kept his streak of biggest fan never to attend a game alive.
My father died Valentine’s day 2000.
My continued and growing obsession with the patriots has a lot to do with keeping our connection alive. But once you know something it is hard not to appreciate it. And so I do. I think my father would have loved the Patriots running out of that tunnel as one, instead of man by man. It was the team that he admired, not each player. Although he did love Randy Moss’ freakish athleticism and I wish he could have seen him in ’07.
I don’t know when I first heard PFW in progress, but it was long long ago. I subscribed to the paper for many years and now pay for the PFW weekly app on two devices. I would pay more if you needed it. I have never missed a minute of a podcast. Some live and some later. My husband can tell which one of you is talking, because when he is out late at hockey you guys are always going at each other through my phone when he returns. He did not grow up with sports talk, or in a loud house, so he cannot understand how I love to hear you yell over each other. When you all get going I like to guess who is going to have the final thread of the conversation. Mostly Andy, sometimes Fred just cuts you all off with an ALLL RIGHT.
In countless, literally countless hours of listening I have only disliked one sound that came from your show. The Asian gong noise that Kevin plays. This is totally not because of political correctness (to see how politically correct I am just read this post I wrote about how women should bleep their husbands more) but because it is a lazy joke. Andy teasing about plane parts in yards, jokes about junk, all OK. Just lose the gong. And congrats on avoiding the llamas. What a bleepshow that would have been.
Like Paul Perrillo I was Bledsoe loyalist, I looked past the cleft chin of Brady and rooted for Drew to be reinstated. I grieved for a bit but had made the transition by ring two. Hurry up Paul, the Brady era is waning and it will be really tough not to appreciate him until it is over.
Before this particular run ends my own will. I am moving to Denver, living outside of New England for the first time in my life (assuming you count Vermont as New England which for the record I DO, meet the PATRIOTS you crazy geographically challenged group). I am following Welker and now Talib. But unlike those two I will NEVER don an orange Jersey, unless I lose some sort of bet.
Forever a Patriot fan.
Thank you guys for making it possible for me to move away. As you know you have solidified an international community of Pats fans. I will bring you with me. And when I finally get off the freaking list I will move back. Because, what could be better than that? Wait, I know…real time play by play from Paul and Andy while Fred blogs, so I can sit at the game and have two devices running, one eye on the game with you guys yelling in my ear.