My husband doesn’t usually cry when he watches football. He rarely even looks like he might cry. But when Tom Brady hobbled off the field during the first quarter last Sunday, my husband looked like the little boy in the movie “Old Yeller.”

My husband doesn’t usually cry when he watches football. He rarely even looks like he might cry. But when Tom Brady hobbled off the field during the first quarter last Sunday, my husband looked like the little boy in the movie “Old Yeller.”

“Are you OK?” I asked.

He shook his head. “It’s going to be a long season, I don’t know if I can take it.”

“Oh, it can’t be that bad,” I tried to be cheerful and offer some hope. But the little boy who was just told that Old Yeller is very, very sick just looked straight ahead staring at the TV.
“Well, how about if I go pick up a pizza?”

“OK,” he replied as if I had just offered him the consolation prize. “Guess I might as well enjoy a pizza.”

When I had returned from Bravo, he looked worse. I looked at the score.

“Hey, the Patriots are ahead,” I said clapping my hands wildly. “Why aren’t you happy?”

My husband tried to speak but nothing came out. I watched for a few minutes as the Patriots mumbled, jumbled and fumbled their way through the second quarter.

I watched my husband, slumped in his chair, wincing and moaning. I thought about all the Patriots fans, fans over the U.S.A. who were cheering for the Patriots because they were so much fun to watch. They exuded confidence, talent and had a bond that fans could feel right through their new flat screen TVs.

We have waited since that dark day last February for the Patriots to come back and prove again that they are world champions. Through days of golf, swimming and BBQ’s, we have waited for the Sunday following Labor Day.

The magic couldn’t be over. Say it ain’t so, Tom!

“Now look,” I said at the game’s conclusion, “we won and maybe Tom will be back next week.”

My husband mumbled something about Kansas being one of the lowest rated teams in the league and that I shouldn’t get too excited.

“Now listen, Mister,” I said grabbing his shoulders, the way Sarah Connor did to Reese in the Terminator when he didn’t think he could go on, “we have to be strong, we have to support the Patriots and hold them up with our optimism.”

He looked at me with that little boy look.

“Do you see Belichick giving up? Do you see all the Patriots lying down on the field getting a sun tan instead of playing their hearts out?”

OK, maybe I sounded a little silly but I think he got the point. Whether the Patriots win or lose this season, we all know they will fight to win as hard as they can and with everything they have. And it’s our job to cheer and yell and act crazy just as hard as ever too.

My husband smiled, “I didn’t know you were such a fan. You usually don’t get excited until the day you get to shop for goodies for the Super Bowl.”

“Well, it’s true,” I agreed, “but I’ve seen how much joy the Patriots have given their fans and if they are in trouble this year then we need to cheer a little harder and a little louder so they hear us.”

My husband reached over and put his arm around me. “You always did cheer for the underdog, didn’t you?”

But it really isn’t like that, I went on to explain. I’m not cheering for the Patriots because I feel they are the underdogs; I’m cheering because to me they aren’t just a football team, they’re family. We all went to the hospital and sat in the waiting room with Tedy a few years ago, we held Bledsoe’s hand on the sidelines when he almost got fatally injured, we made chicken soup for all the guys with aches and pains and futures that ended too quickly.

The Patriots are our family. We need to hold them up forever with our yells and screams and give thanks every year for all the times they made us proud.

Beverly Lessard is a Boxborough resident and can be reached at bvrlylessard@aol.com.