I think it was a considerate move by the networks to air the Golden Globes directly following the playoffs so that at the moment when you realize the Patriots’ loss is inevitable, before a funk even sets in, you can switch to the glitz of the red carpet and get swept up in the cattiness: Annette Bening’s hair looks like a porcupine! and Wait, The Tourist was nominated? The one with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie? Seriously?
And you can almost forget that your team isn’t going to the Super Bowl, and it’s no big deal, right, because there’s Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon lookin’ fine, and so what if they came with other people; you know they would have taken you if they could have, and you would have been a charming date after taking out a loan to buy a dress; and hey, there’s Aaron Sorkin telling girls that’s it’s good to be smart, and Ricky Gervais is ripping people to shreds in a biting but truly hilarious way, and you’re glad you’re not famous because you’re not sure you’d want to hear what he’d say about you, but then it would hardly matter when you’re on the arm of Mr. Damon who’s whispering in your ear: I’ve got this locked up and you have to tell him, gently, Honey, you’re not nominated this year, and when the water works come, you wipe his tears and tell him you’ll make it up to him later when you’re alone.
To stop the sobbing that started the moment Tom Brady went down on the field with a knee injury in the first quarter of the first game of the season, I’m trying to focus on the positive. Because hey, my Sundays have just opened up. Football season is so demanding anyway–sure, for the players, but equally for the fans. First, it’s a huge time commitment: several hours every Sunday afternoon or occasional marathon Monday night throughout the fall and winter. Who needs that kind of distraction? Second, it’s a heavy emotional investment, which, after the catastrophic end to last season, cannot be overstated. Suffice it to say, I’m at risk for high blood pressure and have a defibrillator on hand for the games. Third, the time off will give Brady some quality time with his son and model girlfriend, paparazzi-free, because really who will care where they’re buying a house or going to dinner or what he’s wearing: if he can’t throw the football, he’ll be lucky to rate a segment on Access Hollywood.
Oh, what’s this? Backup QB Matt Cassel has thrown for two touchdowns, and the Pats are on top 14-10. Maybe things will be OK (flashback to a young Brady coming in for an injured Bledsoe and getting the job done). And wait, now the Chiefs’ QB is down too? Damn, there go my Sundays.
New England's Tom Brady (12) fires a pass downfield just as Kansas City's Bernard Pollard (out of the photo) hits his leg and buckles it. (Winslow Townson/Associated Press)
1. Put away my Patriots t-shirt for the season. Goodbye stupid shirt; see you in August. Just so you know, you’re no longer my lucky shirt.
2. Made a mediocre lunch, nostalgic for the feasts of game day. Even lime Tostitos have lost their charm.
3. Moped around the house, reflexively grabbing the remote and then tossing it aside with a sigh.
4. Cursed the snow that fell during four separate squalls on Sunday. Snow is only welcome during playoff games.
5. Read an article by sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy who put the loss into perspective: it was bad, but not as bad as the spectacular collapses of the Red Sox, which while true, only made me feel worse.
It’s a given that days before the Super Bowl, t-shirts are made declaring each team the winner. Hungry fans demand wearables the very next day. So, where do the silkscreened sweatshirts of the losing team go to die? Third world countries, apparently. It’s a win-win: manufacturers ship the clothing to people who need it, and New Englanders can take solace in the fact that somewhere, at least on the backs of a few blissfully unaware Zimbabweans, the Patriots are Super Bowl champions.
“Morning,” the bus driver said. I noticed he had omitted the “good” and I was grateful. We sat in silence, joined in sadness. The bus wasn’t scheduled to leave for another two minutes. More unendurable waiting.
“Can you just drive?” I asked. “I mean, somewhere else.”
He was reading the Globe, full of bad, bad news. “Yeah,” he said. “Let’s go.”
We agreed on Florida–it’s warm and a long enough drive to allow for uninterrupted sobbing–but as the bus lumbered down the street, I saw that he was just humoring me. We were taking our normal route to the city, as if he thought I were kidding. As if he thought I could be remotely useful in my job today. As if he thought I had any reason at all to live.
Forget it. I don’t want to talk about it.