I’ve made no secret of my love of New England sports teams, particularly the Red Sox and Patriots. I’ve been a Sox fan since I was a child, through all the pain of coming *this* close for so many year, until finally winning our first World Series in 2004. And then again! In 2007! It’s a magical time! And of course the incredible run the Patriots have had this millennium, which sadly finished last year with a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl, which I still have not gotten over. Nope, I haven’t. I can’t read any articles about it, I can’t listen to any announcer speak about it. Still. And after the loss last year I made the decision that I was going to be less emotionally involved this season. Ha, yeah, right, we’ll see how that goes!
And then yesterday the unthinkable, yet inevitable happens. Our star, our hero, one of the best players to ever play the game, played half of the first quarter in the season opener, and suffered a season ending injury. And the jaws of all New England dropped and uttered a collective “Oh no!” Followed by, “What do we do now?”
I can’t help it, I care. But I am also glad I chose this season not to get (as) emotionally involved. The pundits have apparently written my team off for the year. As if Tom Brady is a one man football team. Seven years ago Tom Brady was a backup when he was called into duty when Drew Bledsoe, the starter at the time, was hurt in an early season game. We won our first Super Bowl at the end of that season, and a legend, and a dynasty, were born.
I feel sickened for me and for every New England sports fan at the news that Tom is out for the season. But mostly I feel badly for Tom, who is a true athlete, a worker and a lover of the game. I also feel for his backup, who will be starting his first football game since high school next week. Matt Cassel has been Tom Brady’s backup QB for 4 years now and has not been all that impressive. He did a fine job yesterday, but I fear it was an anomaly rather than an indicator. He’s in a unique spot – he has a chance to come in and shine, like Brady did 7 years ago, but he could also be the goat for all New England as the season slowly goes down the drain. It won’t be his fault, but way too many fans, and sports writers (local and national) will see it that way.
Aw, who am I kidding – I am emotionally involved. But I think for me it’s more about the human element right now than it is about winning and losing.
So I’m wishing Tom a successful surgery with a quick recovery and to come back next year better than ever. And wishing Matt the peace and strength to do his best always, and that as long as he does that, he can hold his head up high no matter what anyone might say.
Go Sox! (who are currently beating the 1st place Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 in the 7th inning!)