It was supposed to be our guys celebrating in the confetti. It was supposed to be our guys hoisting the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy at midfield. It was supposed to be our guys having a parade in honor of a Super Bowl victory. It was supposed to be us... ...but it didn't happen. It's been five days now since the Patriots ripped my heart out, Raiders of the Lost Ark style, and flung it across the room to its gory demise. Like the rest of you, I've been a zombie, just trying to make sense of it all. The loss was so catastrophic, so traumatic, it became nearly impossible not to dwell on it every waking second. I certainly didn't need any reminders from the media, so I avoided it as much as possible. F*ck those motherf*ckers. They created this monster, after all. Made the Patriots into their darlings, only after they had already dismissed any possibility of defeating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Then the following season came, and the media reminded all of us that our beloved team was a fluke. The innocence of being a Pats fan was gone from that moment forward. The chip was hammered into my shoulder, and into my soul. Every year was something different. "They're lucky!" "They're boring!" "They're classless!" "They're cheating!" "They're chokers!" The chip on the shoulder, the resentment I have for those who resent us, got heavier and heavier. This season it became a lot to bear, with only the hope-- nay, the expectation-- of a 4th Lombardi to keep me up. When the Super Bowl concluded, and all of Giants country (and the sad, sorry Schadenfreude-driven Pats haters) lifted onto Cloud 9, the rest of us crumbled down to our knees, literally and figuratively speaking. It was a cruel and unfair finish to what should have been a glorious and historic season. Instead it is historic for its infamy. This is what we must live with, for we have no other choice. Trust me, there is nothing more I would like than to mail Belichick and staff a video tape of SB 42 to February 2nd, 2008, in a manila envelope with "DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN" scribbled on it. So instead we must end that chapter and turn the page. If you must look back, then look back further. --------------------------------------- In the days immediately following the Super Bowl, I didn't want to be reminded of the disaster. So I refused to wear any of my many Patriots hats, and opted to go with the Red Sox or Boston College or even the Celtics. I surely didn't want to upset other jaded Pats fans outside. Interestingly enough, it seemed that most everyone else had the same idea in mind. Patriots hats were replaced by Red Sox hats. Remnants of a Patriots poster flailed on an apartment window. Anything to get our minds off the Pats, dammit. But now, I want you to do me a favor. Before reading any further, go into your closet and pull out your Super Bowl champions hats. ...go on... Got one? All right. Now look at them. Some of you may have just one hat, some of you may have all of them. All of that is besides the point. The point is I want you to look at your hat. It's worn in and probably long overdue for a good wash, right? How did it feel when you first wore it? Great, I would imagine. If you were anything like me, you grinned from ear-to-ear when you looked in the mirror and saw "Super Bowl Champions" draped on your head. How could you not? You walked with a certain swagger. The sun shined a little brighter. As long as you had the opportunity to wear that hat, all was right with the world. It means your team is a champion. Okay, so you may have three hats. Awesome, right? But the real awesomeness doesn't come from the fact that there are three altogether. Rather, it's that each individual hat represents a truly special time to be a fan of the Patriots. Each season precious in its own right. You indiscriminately love all of those championship seasons, much like a parent would indiscriminately love all his or her children. It's a privilege given not just to anybody, but to the passionate fan of a team that has triumphed in the biggest game of them all. I've grown very fond of my 2004 version; an ugly brown hat that looked like it belonged to a UPS truck driver. But it's really not ugly...it's beautiful. We would've liked a chance to go over to Modell's and pick up a 4th hat to add to our collection; the more, the merrier, as they say. But who's to say a 4th won't come in due time? Contrary to what others may tell you, you don't have to be content with just the 3 SB titles. If you're not pulling for your team to win the championship every year, then you simply are not a fan. This is Patriot Nation. Johnny-come-latelys need not inquire. We are truly blessed to have this organization to support; an organization that hasn't always achieved their goals, but has given us so much to cheer for and will continue to do so. Browns fans, Eagles fans, Bills fans, etc. ... they would kill to have a privilege of wearing a Super Bowl Champions hat of their own. Today I wore my Patriots 2004 hat and I felt much better. I encourage all of you, when you feel you are ready, to wear your Super Bowl Champions hat, and be proud. Do so as a reminder to yourself and those around you that, hey, being a Patriots fan is not so bad. It's a great way of showing support for the team you love, and it will brighten the spirits of your fellow Pats fans. We're all in this together through the bad times and the good. This is as good a time as any to remind every Pats fan that they are not alone.