I can’t remember why, but one Sunday afternoon when I was 14, I sat down with my dad and watched a Patriots game. I had little knowledge of the game with the exception of touchdowns and quarterbacks but I started asking my dad questions. Slowly, I started to pick up the basics of the game thanks to my dad’s teachings and I soon developed what some would call an unhealthy obsession with the game and the Patriots. You might find football trivial, boring, and stupid, but for me it’s exciting and the only thing I have to look forward to each week.
My dad and I don’t try and hide our Patriot obsession. We don’t bullshit our family members when we skip family parties. I’ve skipped First Communions and Confirmations, birthdays, anniversary parties, weddings – you name it. You see, my dad’s obsession dates back to the Patriots’ inception so the family is used to it. By the time I became a fan, they were already familiar with the territory.
I can tell you specifically what games I have missed since becoming a devout Patriots fan:
* 2000 – Patriots at Cleveland Browns. I was in Florida and a rare trip to Disney World trumps Patriots at Cleveland.
* 2002 – Patriots at San Diego Chargers. We missed this ONLY because my dad was in the hospital and he was too sick to put the game on TV.
* 2003 – Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans. I was trapped in South Carolina with only the stupid, Pre-Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers versus I can’t even remember to watch. It was hell knowing there was a kickass game going on and I was missing it. (Side note: the following week, I was still in S.C. for the Patriots-Giants game but found a sports bar that carried all NFL games)
THATS IT! In 15 years, I’ve only missed THREE GAMES!
But now I have a problem… I slight blip on the relationship… my boyfriend’s family is throwing their annual Christmas party/Family Reunion on a Sunday, and not just any Sunday… December 9, when the Patriots take on what could be their last hurdle toward securing AFC playoff home field advantage… the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers. As if it couldn’t get any more dire, I’ve skipped the last two Christmas parties with his family making this one all that more important for me to attend.
I always thought that, since most football fans are men I’d have no problem finding a boyfriend who was as obsessed as I am. That couldn’t have been any further from the truth. Often times, the guys I have dated either didn’t like football or didn’t like a girl who liked football as if it was an affront to their manhood. It’s been so difficult to find someone who shares my passion that one time, I dated this guy who (and I am not kidding) asked me what a running back is. Uh, it’s a player whose job is to run. To me, that’s an inexcusable lack of football knowledge.
My boyfriend likes football, he’s just not a fan. He doesn’t care if he misses a game and he doesn’t understand why it’s so important to me. To him, the choice is obvious – miss the Patriots game, spend time with his family.
The one positive thing is thanks to Flex Scheduling. Instead of kickoff being at 1 o’clock, it’s been upped to 4:15. So, this allows for me to compromise. I will spend Noon to 3:30 at his family’s party, then haul ass from New Hampshire (it just HAS to be in N.H.) and make it home before the end of the first quarter. He still thinks this is rude but I was quick to remind him that he left my family reunion this past August after 30 minutes to go to a stupid Slayer concert. As if a concert even comes close to a Patriots game. Geesh.