I’m playing The Grinch this X-mas. Last Christmas I was fortunate enough to get everything I wanted: an undefeated Patriots team heading towards the playoffs. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Our Christmas tree was perfect. My son had put the lights on, so I got to avoid all that aggravation. My wife and kids did an awesome job, as the tree was decorated with all our favorite ornaments.
All was done without any squabbles about ornament placement.
The house was all lit up. We had yard ornaments decorating the lawn with spotlights trained on Christmas wreaths hanging on windows and doors. There were candle lights in every window. It was the pride of the neighborhood.
I bought and cooked a big turkey. We had all the fixings—stuffing, potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, gerkins, olives, even turnips. The side table was overflowing with desserts like pies, cakes, whipped cream, and pudding.
I invited all the family and many friends. I was just in an outright festive mood. We ate and drank, then played games, only to eat and drink again.
The house was rocking with all the laughter.
My humor and generosity were boundless. I was happy to make it to Christmas mass with the wife, and I had plenty to be thankful for.
In my household, it was a perfect world at Christmas time last year.
This year the situation is a little different. My team didn’t win the Super Bowl, and it’s been all downhill from there.
The credit card bills rolled in, it wouldn’t stop snowing, and gas prices started rising. My bank account dwindled. Every day was a little drearier.
The draft and preseason nearly cured me of my depression. At that point, I wasn’t even thinking about the holidays. I was living for the moment—the start of the regular season.
Then the first quarter of the first game finally arrived, and it all came crashing back down on me. I sat through the rest of that game with one thought: Brady will be coming back out of that tunnel with his helmet in hand.
Sure, we won the game with Matt Cassel, and it was nice to see that we had decent backup, but I wanted Brady back.
Now we know that wish was not to be.
I pulled myself together and watched and waited as Matt Cassel continued to progress, and it gave me some hope back, as he is doing an above-average job. However, more injuries started to pile up, and I found that the defense wasn’t all that supportive anymore.
Even up to Thanksgiving, I was positive a playoff spot was assured. Now, I have to pray for other teams' losses or root for teams I despise because those ever-changing scenarios that might allow the Patriots a playoff berth.
I have no time to decorate the house this year. I have to review the remaining schedule. There might be a scenario I missed. There may be a player I need to hex or a team that needs another jinx.
There are no lawn decorations. The house nearly looks abandoned compared to the neighbors. When my kids returned from college, they thought that we had moved without giving them a forwarding address.
The wife wanted a tree, so I cut down one of our shrubs and brought it in. She said, “But it’s only three feet tall." I had to explain that we couldn’t afford all the lights and, besides, it would be easier to put the star on top.
Hey, at least it’s green.
There will be no friends over this year, no family, no feast. Yeah, I’ve got a tree, but there will be no stockings hung. The rest of the family will have to discover the spirit of Christmas in their own hearts.
I haven’t gone completely heartless this Christmas. The best gifts are handmade anyway, right? I made everyone an ornament out of colored macaroni glued to paper plates.
When they ask me what I want for Christmas, I’m very clear and precise. I want the Pats to win. Oh, and I need the Colts and Jets to lose the next three. It wouldn’t hurt if Miami lost another. Baltimore cannot win anymore and neither can Dallas.
That just might allow me to focus on this holiday season. I know that my Christmas wish may throw some other families into turmoil.
But Christmas is all about giving, so come on Pats, give me the win.
Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Don’t lose sight of what is truly important—no, not your team, but family, friends, and heart-felt companionship.