It’s Tuesday, another day for the regularly scheduled PFA (Patriots Fan Anonymous) meeting at 7 p.m. always held at the local community building.
I’m hermatile because I always make the meetings even though I backslide every weekend through the course of the regular NFL season. Call it a weak constitution, a fuzzy commitment to healing, or just call it an insidious addiction to all things Patriots.
I know I’m not supposed to be watching the Patriots games; hell, I shouldn’t even be watching football at all. All the pre-game and post-game shows, and even during a game, the sports announcers will always find away to mention the status of the Patriots team.
I should be finding constructive activities to distract me from my passions—anything that will keep me occupied and allow the healing process to move forward.
I’ve been trying to become a normal person with cares and concerns beyond the on-field endeavors of a certain professional football team. I’m just having a very hard time separating the reality of life from my Patriots fan-ship.
So every Tuesday I find myself back at these meetings drinking rancid coffee, munching on day-old doughnuts in anticipation of my weekly admission of failing to make it through another week of exorcising the Patriots from my life.
As I sit there through the reading of the objectives and rules of the meeting, I have time to reflect on what I will say when I take my turn at the podium.
As the meeting starts, I miss my opportunity to get my hand up first. A gentleman gets up to the podium and addresses the group: “Hi, my name is _____ (I’ll call him Terry, as this is supposed to be anonymous), and I am a Patriots Fan.”
The crowd responds, “Hi, Terry.”
It turns out that Terry has had similar relapses to my own. He recounts how he too has been watching the Patriots games.
With a tear in his eye he then admitted to a further faux paus of logging on to a certain Internet sports site and leaving acidic comments on a number of derogatory Patriots articles. He had sunk to the deepest levels of fanhood.
Instead of sympathy for the relapse of Terry, I feel a bit of kinship and pride for the man. All the while I was treading dangerous waters trying to sort out those feelings for myself.
As everyone else congratulated Terry for sharing as he made his way back to his seat, another fellow takes his place at the podium; we’ll call him Steve. After Steve introduces himself and admits his fanhood, we all welcome him: “Hi, Steve.”
Surprisingly, I hear another admission of football watching and Internet commenting. I know Steve and I always thought he came to these meetings only because he actually liked the crappy coffee.
I gained a large amount of respect for the man as he stood there and told his story.
As I sat there waiting for Steve to finish knowing that I had some demons of my own to purge, I couldn’t help myself from feeling conflicted once again. A plan was forming and I had no way of diverting my thoughts.
As the moderator asked if there was anyone else who wanted to share, I jumped to my feet. On my way to the podium, I made a concerted effort to walk by both Terry and Steve to give them a wink and a handshake.
I strode to the podium in front of this concerned and caring audience and immediately launched into the opening: “Hi, my name is Glenn Card and I’m a Patriots fan.” The crowd’s automatic zombie response came back at me: “Hi, Glenn.”
For emphasis, I repeated myself: “I’m Glenn Card and I’m a Patriots fan.” I pause, then whipped off my cap, exposing the flying Elvis Patriot emblems tattooed to each side of my shaved head, adding “And I’m damn proud of it.” Pandemonium broke loose with shouts of acceptance and condemnation.
As I commanded the podium, I announced, “I’m here for your counter-intervention.” This time I heard more cheers than shrieks of horror.
"We’re all Patriots fans here and we’ve been led to believe that we have a problem. We’re not the problem.
"We’ve been fans when the Patriots were the laughingstock, the doormats of the NFL. Other fans pitied us and thought we were pathetic for our allegiance to our team.
"No one took us seriously.
"Then along came Parcels and Bledsoe then Belichick and Brady. Something happened as we went from loathing other teams to unabashed admirers of our own team; we became the hated Patriots fans.
"I’ve seen national polls that show that one third of all NFL fans hate the Patriots especially because of their fans. That means me and you and you and you," I said as I started pointing my finger all around the room.
"Well, being adults with a conscience and concern for what others think of us, we have tried to better ourselves and conform to the wishes of other fans. We have tried to be less abrasive and brash, more understanding of their loser feelings.
"It did not matter that those same fans that we were offending had fathers and older brothers that took every opportunity to belittle us and put us down for decades before.
"Now despite the Patriots decade of success we’re supposed to allow and humor other fans as the bash and demean the Patriots through Internet articles and comments. We should ignore those jabs and cajole the authors of these mean spirited opinions and commentaries.
"While I’ve been in the program I have only smiled, nodded my head and mumbled platitudes of appreciation for their twisted intuitive observances.
"I now recognize those Patriots-bashing articles for what they are.
"They are hate and fear disguised as literature; hate for success not their own and fear of the playoffs. The season is young and having the Patriots possibly make the playoffs is reason enough to fear them.
"My counter-intervention is self-attained and I’ve made it my mission to free my like-minded friends and kinsmen from their burdens of trying to fit in with the fan population at large.
"I’m done with these PFA meetings. If you want to meet with me then you can see me down at the local sports pub and I’ll tell you all about my fanhood there."
I’m a little hermatile at myself for allowing myself to be falsely humbled. So I say to all those not of the Patriot persuasion, go ahead and deride us for a Patriots loss or two, but fear the future as your nightmare is the Patriots in the playoffs.
I am Glenn Card, and I am a Patriots fan.