What It Means To Be A Patriots Fan

What It Means To Be A Patriots Fan

It's everything.
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I went to the AFC Divisional playoff game Saturday night, and I currently have the lack of a voice to prove it. I was surprised with a ticket Thursday night, and it was by far the best belated Christmas gift I have ever received. Friday was a very long waiting game for me, and I could hardly contain myself Saturday; that 8:15 P.M. kickoff absolutely killed me. Clearly, the wait was worth it, but I do not know if I could have handled another outcome.

Though it was chilly in Foxboro, my excitement for this game completely outweighed my dislike for blustery winter temperatures. I took a close look at the field when I got into the stands, and of course Tom Brady was the first player I spotted. I have so much faith in his ability to endure, improve, and win each and every game he takes on.

Being a Patriots fan is one of the best (and worst) things to ever have happened to me. Not only is it time consuming, but it also requires a certain level of emotional investment. Sundays during the fall and winter are the best, especially in New England. We gear up in all things Patriots to watch the game from beginning to end, and we are totally in it to win it. Though it happens once in a blue moon (if at all), we do not handle losses very well. These are seldom blowouts, because Tom Brady and the Patriots present a challenge for each and every team we face off against. It’s always a very exciting game, whether we win by three touchdowns or a mere field goal. Once this season ends (hopefully with a fifth ring for TB), I am going to wonder how I ever lived without Sunday football.

All in all, I could not imagine my life without the Patriots. Not only is my dorm room decked out with merchandise, but my passion goes way beyond that.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Buckley

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Basketball Gave Me The Competitive Spirit I Needed To Thrive Off The Court

Although I still cannot dribble a basketball without fumbling it or touch the basketball net after my highest jump, basketball led me to become the superstar version of me.

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Like the majority of people, sports grew to be a significant part of my life. Ever since I was introduced to kickball and four-square in second grade, I found myself loving the natural competition that came with even the most basic sports. However, as I grew older, my relation with sports changed drastically compared to others.

No, I did not suffer a critical injury. Rather, I simply was never athletic and tall enough to compete in any sport. Being physically incapable to keep up with many of my friends and peers, I was forced to transition myself from the competitor to the observer. Disappointed with my reality, I felt a disconnect from the world, that I was in the significant majority that could never find fulfillment and enjoyment from sports ever again.

Enter basketball.

Like many casual fans, I grew attracted towards basketball because of superstars such as Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce. However, what really made me a hardcore lover of the sport is how basketball is a game of the "little things."

Don't get me wrong now... the earth-shattering dunks, clutch last-second shots, and other eye dazzling plays made on a nightly basis were exhilarating to watch. However, studying every second of the game was intriguing because every development that occurred in each match called for meticulous attention to detail to create perfect execution. I honed in on aspects such as examining footwork, body positioning, decision making, and various other attributes. Eventually, I realized that it was these small yet significant features that explained how and why exceptional players became successful while others did not.

This newfound detail-oriented mindset naturally transitioned from just basketball games to my personal life. The mentality basketball brought to my life helped bring focus to my habits and routines and whether they genuinely benefited me or not. Soon enough, I went through massive changes in how I studied, did my chores, approached new people, and so much more. Despite the difficulty that came with these vast revisions, my new lifestyle allowed me to solve both complex and uncomplicated problems through the "the little things."

Although I still cannot dribble a basketball without fumbling it or touch the basketball net after my highest jump, basketball led me to become the superstar version of me.

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