Be it our Puritan origins, or over 80 years of curse on our beloved Red Sox, New England sports fans are some of the most superstitious people on Earth.
Hence our pessimism.
The number one rule of the New England fan is to cheer our team, but never ever say out loud that they could win. To do that jinxes the game. If it slips out, knock on wood, but hope that the quarterback didn’t hear you.
Most of the students at USM are native New Englanders, and as soon as the AFC was clinched they shared a happy tear with Drew Bledsoe and prepared themselves for the inevitable disappointment to follow the next Sunday.
Without a bye-week, there was not much time to plan. Makeshift parties were assembled in common areas of most dorms, some splurging on large-screen TV rental or shrimp platters. The air of celebration was a lingering fog, yet tentative.
“I’m pretty sure the Patriots are going to lose,” asserted Erica Tobey, voicing the consensus. With 3:10 left in the first quarter, the opposing Rams scored a fifty-yard field goal. Partygoers sighed as the Patriots’ fate seemed sealed.
With nine minutes left till halftime, the game began to change. The Pats scored a touchdown with compliments to Ty Law. Cautious optimism moved through cheering viewers.
“The Patriots are looking pretty good. If they keep playing the way they’ve been, it looks good,” chanced Sean Diette, junior music education major. He qualified his positivity, however with expressions of fear of Rams Pro Bowler Marshall Faulk. “[He’s] a good player. We have to keep him contained.”
“They’re going to win!” Pat Kenney, sophomore criminology & political science major, said after a second touchdown, between bites of homemade jambalaya. Knock on wood: “You can’t count the Rams out, but the Patriots have momentum. Kurt Warner has been intercepted and they’ve fumbled.”
Chicago Bears fan Kevin Rubenstein, resident direcor of Upton-Hastings has not been in New England long enough to understand the underlying curse of all of the region’s sports, and declared, “Of course the Pats are going to win! I’m a Pats’ fan for the day.”
Bears’ fan he may be, but Cubs fan it is doubtful.
The last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter were painful with anxiety for Pats fans. The closeness of the game was unbearable pressure on many who began to pray and wheeze and shout.
“We have to win because we can’t lose!” exclaimed an hysterical Jenn Flannery, freshman of Woodward Hall of undeclared major. “The Patriots are winning and no one else believed in them but us! I should have bet my boyfriend money!” It became hard for fans to have real grasps on reality.
The events of the last two minutes unfolded in surreal shades of bright green AstroTurf far below as the pigskin sailed through the magnificent golden uprights, propelled by Adam Vinatieri’s magical foot. Stunned students all over the USM campus dropped their jaws as they viewed what some at that moment regarded as the possible first sign of the Apocalypse. The New England Patriots have won the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots have won the Super Bowl!
Cheers, nay, screams of excitement and victory pierced through the cold February air. Fans blubbered nonsensical syllables in vain attempts to articulate their joy while trying to remain conscious despite potential hyperventilation.
“I’m in shock. I didn’t think it could be done. How ’bout that spread? Who needs the Tuna?” muttered stunned Chris Brann, eyes glazed over.
“I feel amazing. [The win] is good for the region and good for the country. Could this be ‘the year’?” says Adam Lay, freshman sports medicine major, referring to the event of myth and legend that one year all of New England would be victorious, a feat so closely reached in 1986 before falling to the ever underlying jinx. “I think so. I think it could.”
And so the evening of triumph ended, and the victory celebration began as the entire Northeast glowed with the pride and the curse-thwarting energy of the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Alive Editor Elise Adams
can be contacted at [email protected]