By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
August 13, 2007

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates

Truth be told, I was going to sit down in this space and write a thorough analysis of the first preseason game of the 2007 season for the Patriots. But let's face it. A few things conspired against me. First off, there really wasn't much to analyze except perhaps for the fact that the hotel room scene from Borat offered a better example of choreography than some of the offensive line play. Next, frankly---okay, after five years I'm going to finally admit it to you---I have no idea what I'm looking at any more than you do despite being the proprietor of this here column. And most importantly, life has changed a lot for me over the last couple of years.

The change, of course, is the blessed deliverance of our two children Jake and Evie into our lives. Not too long ago, such an occasion would have called for a Rousseau-Party-For-One with such entrees as Marlboro Lights, Budweiser, and pizza. People always say having kids changes your life but you never know for sure how that is going to play out until you are knee-deep into parenthood. For example, take trying to watch a quarter of a pre-season game while keeping two toddlers occupied as I did last Friday night.

Let me set the scene for you. My wife is working the overnight shift which puts me firmly in charge of the situation, however tenuous my grip. As the 7:30 p.m. kickoff rolls around, I pop in my man Caillou's DVD and ---voila!—instant occupation for a solid 45 minutes while SuperDad keeps an eye on the game from over the half wall in the kitchen. Now please, before you dime me out to Child Services consider that my wife and I do limit television in the house and generally I try to do the right thing as a dad. The punch line they don't put in the manual is that most of the time you have no idea if you are doing the right thing as a parent. I suppose, you just hold your breath and do your best within your given abilities.

At just about this time, I snuck a call into Don, my 89 year-old grandfather. In all the chaos, I almost forgot to make this crucial phone call. As the years move on, I have developed a little tradition where I call him at the beginning of either the Red Sox or Patriots season and hear him say "I know. I can't believe it," when I ask him if he can believe that the season is already here. Someday, I'm going to cry real hard when there is no response to my semi-annual question. But until then, I hold onto every response from him like it was a Troy Brown first down reception in the red zone.

Often times, we hear about the lousy quality of life that our senior citizens endure in nursing homes. Well, I'm here to tell you that at the Ellis Nursing Home in Norwood, MA my grandfather couldn't be happier and he is treated as a member of an extended family. So I have learn to smile and just shake my head when he tells me things like he has to let me go because "a couple of the guys are coming over to watch the game."

A little while later after Caillou and the Patriots first string have each done their job, it's time for the three of us to go to bed. What a fool I was to think I could turn on the little TV in the bedroom and watch the second quarter while convincing Jake and Evie to go night-night. "Well, it is the pre-season I suppose," muttered SuperDad as the game was decisively turned off. In the solitude of darkness and after some wiggling around, they finally settled down. A few minutes later, I thought about how at peace I was with my station in life and how the Patriots were in their proper perspective (most of the time…). Just as the thought passed, Evie's little hand in semi-consciousness grabbed mine and wrapped it around her tummy as she drifted off.

The analysis of the backup long snapper position will have to wait.