I have a confession to make. I am a Patriots fan. Please keep reading. I’ll explain.
I grew up in Connecticut, watching the Patriots every Sunday; yes, even during those horrible pre- Belichick / Brady years. I move down “south” to attend graduate school at The Catholic University of America, fell in love with a girl from Baltimore, and the rest is history.
Her family is typical Baltimorean, and by typical, I mean crazy about the Ravens. Even though I sported my Patriot gear every fall and winter, they accepted me. I suppose by the grace of God. Needless to say, games between the Ravens and Patriots have become major events in our house.
Last year, I was particularly excited for the AFC Championship game, hoping for a little revenge for the 2009 Wild Card debacle. I never watched the game.
That Sunday morning, we received a call that my wife’s aunt had a heart attack and was at St. Agnes Hospital in critical condition. We spent that afternoon in a hospital waiting room, not in front of the television. The doctor informed us that she would have died, if she had not been brought in, and things still looked pretty bad.
When I eventually heard of Cundiff’s missing field goal. I felt nothing. My team was going to the Super Bowl. Who cares!
My wife’s aunt never improved. After several months of horrible suffering, she passed away. She was a saintly person, and as one relative stated, if she did not go straight to heaven, we are all in trouble.
Last year, I realized football is just a game, and it is not the players on the field that make watching the game great. If the Lance Armstrong case teaches us anything, it is that we tend to over idolize athletes.
It’s the people sitting next to you that make watching the game great. I’ll be wearing a Brady jersey on Sunday in a sea of purple, but there is no place I would rather be than with my family.
Aunt Mary Ellen, I love and miss you.