A fan’s lament

Tom BradyI feel as if I’ve been hit by a truck. Hung over, despite the fact that I had no alcoholic beverages yesterday or all of last week. The Patriots have let me down. Me. Personally.

It was hard to get out of bed this morning.

If only the Pats had beaten lowly Miami in their last game of the regular season. They would have been #1 seed and had home field advantage. They would have played in Foxboro with all their loving fans cheering them on. Instead, they had those bloodthirsty, orange-garbed Bronco boosters roaring their hearts out at Sports Authority Field.

If only the Pats had gone out to Denver a few days earlier to acclimate to the thinner air in the mile-high city.

If only Stephen Gostkowski hadn’t missed his first point after touchdown in nine years. That’s nine years. After 523 consecutive extra points kicked. If he hadn’t missed, the Patriots wouldn’t have had to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game in the last seconds.

If only the Broncos hadn’t hit Tom Brady 20 times. If only his teammates had protected him. If only Denver’s defense hadn’t been so good. If only the Patriots and the media hadn’t overestimated the physical impairments of Peyton Manning.

If only Tom Brady hadn’t publicly supported his good friend, Donald Trump. The curse of Donald Trump now means no distracting Super Bowl victory parade the day of the New Hampshire primary.

If only, if only.

If ifs and ands were pots and pans, then cabbages would be kings.

The night after the Broncos defeated New England in the 2006 playoff game in Denver, I saw Myra Kraft at a pre-concert gathering for the Boston Children’s Chorus. I marveled that she was ambulatory after such a crushing defeat. I barely was. Her attitude? “Really, Margie. It’s only entertainment.” She was a wise lady, but I’m sure Bob Kraft didn’t feel that way.

Still, Bob Kraft has skin in the game. Skin – and big money. Fans not betting on the game do not. So why do we feel so rotten after such a disappointment? Why do we get so bound up in the outcomes of our favorite teams? Of what significance is it, in the grand scheme of things? It is, after all, as Myra Kraft said, only entertainment.

But it’s not entertaining to lose. The masochist in every fan will return to be beaten up again, starting every season with a renewal of hope. Blind devotion kept Red Sox fans coming back for more for 86 years before they won a World Series. Blind devotion has kept Chicago Cubs fans going through the painful cycle of hope and disappointment for 107 years since their last World Series win!

Every “morning after,” I swear off my addiction. But, time and again, I let myself be carried away. I fail to learn from my experience.

This time I shall. I really mean it. Oh, and by the way, it’s only 18 days before the equipment trucks leave Fenway Park for spring training. On February 18th, pitchers and catchers report to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

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3 thoughts on “A fan’s lament

  1. Mike Rice

    The ‘agony of defeat’ is always tough to take but dwelling on shoulda, coulda, woulda can drive you nuts. They gave it their best shot and I look forward to next season. GO PATS!


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