August 27, 2011
Wish Me Luck On Thursday
BY: Kevin Rousseau
So here's the deal. O.K.?
It's been awhile and it's hard to answer the bell about writing every week.
Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can't.
Do I love this website and the guy (Ian) who has kept the flame going on this website for so long? Of course, I do. I'm a stoic New Englander. I have no choice.
Do I love the Patriots about as much as a material thing in life that a human could? Of course I do.
I'm not new to this rodeo. I'm still waiting for an explanation for the Patriots offensive brain implosion during the fourth quarter of the Jets playoff game. But I keep coming back. I always will. Spygate be damned.
But in many ways, I'm still the same kid who is led by the hand by his father through the blueberry fields, past the telephone tower and then onto Route 1 in 1978 to a pre-season game against the Chiefs. "If we leave the house by 12:00, we will be at our seats before kickoff at 1 p.m., Kevin. Don't worry. I got it all figured out. I'm your dad.," he said.
"Don't worry. I got the tickets. I'm your dad," I said to the my two munchkins a few minutes ago about going to this piece-of-junk 4th pre-season game that is coming up on Thursday against the Giants. Sure, I'm not six years-old anymore. And "Bumpa" has a lot of gray hair these days and a few more pounds to show for the years that have passed by since that hot August day in 1978. They think he is this big loveable guy who gives them whatever they want. I look at him as a still loveable, yet a more disciplinary figure given our history. The picture in my cubicle of all of us from that pre-season game last season against the Saints means more to me than the one of just "Bumpa" and I taken before the kickoff at Super Bowl XXXVI does. Money doesn't matter. Those silly pictures in my cubicle do.
Maybe it's Tom Brady and some guy that goes by "OchoCinco" these days. It used to be Steve Grogan and Stanley Morgan when the world was a lot more innocent. Really, I'm if honest with myself it's really the same guys in different uniforms. I've been to this rodeo for awhile and frankly, I didn't ever ask them as a kid to win one Super Bowl, never mind three Super Bowls. Or perhaps four, if they can answer the bell in the post-season for the first time since 2004. Let's not kid ourselves, it's been a while in the post-season since the Patriots have looked liked the Patriots.
In many ways, it's not as much as fun anymore. The expectation is excellence. When I was a young kid, hoping that a playoff spot would be a sign of respectability was all I could hope for. Now the level of expectations is a lot more clouded. For Pete Carroll's sake, I ran onto the field with a kid named Andy Morrison an hour after the Patriots claimed a playoff spot against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1985. To this day, I can't believe that the Sullivan Stadium field felt like concrete.
But in some sense, despite the disaster against the Lions in the 3rd pre-season game and the Jets playoff loss that I will still be discussing on my deathbed, I'm back.
It's not as romantic as it used to be. During my youth, it seemed more intimate. The Offensive Cooridnator Dick Coury under Head Coach Dick McPherson dropped off a hat at the Almacs supermarket in Foxboro I was working at circa 1992 because he thought it would be cool for me to wear a Patriots hat to the game I was going to the next day. (Don't you hate run-on sentences?) "Hugh Millen is the answer. Don't you think, Mr. Coury?" I said to him as I was cashing him out.
I don't have many answers these days. Writing every week with life's expectations for this website is just unrealistic.
I'm just trying to be a decent dad and keep from not being laid off from my daytime job. The days of making of living from writing are a laughable, distant memory. What isn't a distant memory is those days of walking through the blueberry fields with a guy that is now known as "Bumpa." This Thursday night, me and the kids will drive with "Bumpa" the two miles or so to this mammoth of a stadium along Route 1 that is now called Gillette Stadium. It certainly doesn't look like a high school stadium anymore.
But in the eyes of a five and six-year old, that mammoth stadium looks like their own private avenue into that thing that is called the Patriots. Their dad will do his best impression of "Bumpa" on that day in 1978.
Wish me luck.
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