My lady friend is obsessed with the New York Giants, and it’s making things tough. New England was Giants territory before the Pats’ 1960 inaugural campaign, and plenty of Big Blue fans remain. That’s why I suspect we’re not alone in our problem. Across the region, thousands of relationships are probably suffering under the strain of divided football loyalties as the Super Bowl looms. What makes us special? I guess it's that part of me would like to see her get the win. Heresy? Yes, but let me explain.
My lady friend’s father, Roy, was actually part of the NFL, an executive in the Giants organization. For years his football-crazed daughter loved catching glimpses of him on the sidelines during games. However, Roy suffered a fatal heart attack on New Year's Eve 2006, while traveling home with the Giants after a Week 17 win in DC that propelled them into the playoffs. Thirteen months later, Roy’s bereaved daughter still struggles with his absence, especially in light of all the football reminders. Big Blue’s travails were a cherished cornerstone of their relationship, so enduring this past season without her father was a tough part of a year already blackened by loss and mourning. Still, she dealt with her pain. At the Meadowlands, she hastily scattered a pill bottle’s worth of Roy’s ashes on the sideline before a game, near where he liked to stand (with plenty left over for another scattering when the Giants get a new stadium), but nothing helped much. Nothing, that is, until the Giants’ surprise playoff run, and their shot at ruining the undefeated Patriots’ perfect season.
My love of the Pats comes from my dad. Every fall Sunday of my childhood, upon returning from 11 o’clock mass we would find the pater familias on the couch, smoking Tijuana Smalls in his bathrobe and already scoffing at the hapless Pats of old. (For whom did my pops root before the Pats? The G-Men, of course.) Ultimately, I do want the Pats to prevail. Here are my reasons: to shut up the 1972 Dolphins; because the only perfect things in my existence are the burgers at Ruski’s, so a perfect season sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime treat; because if the Pats lose they will become the Biggest Chokers In Sports History, relieving the 2004 Yankees; and, finally, because of Spygate. And who in my life has been riding that tired Spygate hobbyhorse the hardest? My lady friend. So, during the Super Bowl, I’d love to see the Pats use her Giants the same way people use toilets.
But that’s only if we’re talking sports. Tons of things are more important than that game, and yes, when I think about it like that I do kind of hope for my girl’s team, because she’s hurting. My dad is still available to me. He’s in Sanford. If the Pats lose, I can get him on the phone and commiserate. We can cry or laugh about it together. I see him whenever I want, but Roy is gone forever, so if a Giants Super Bowl win is the only thing that can ameliorate my lady friend’s pain, then I guess it wouldn’t be the worst thing that ever happened to New England. Just the worst thing since Grady Little let Pedro face Jorge Posada in that pivotal eighth inning, way back in 2003.
Go Pats. I hope they get it done for all of us. Really. But also, let’s go Giants. I hope they get it done for Roy.
Rick Wormwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.