I have a history of being away from home when my favorite sports teams make big wins.
On February 1, 2004, the New England Patriots were playing Superbowl XXXVIII to decide the champions of the 2003 regular season. The matchup was against the Carolina Panthers and it all went down at Reliant Stadium in Houston. It was an epic game with some really great football. So great, in fact, that Monday Morning Quarterback author Peter King dubbed it “The Greatest Superbowl of All Time.” Of course I wouldn’t miss it for the world, being that I live and breathe the New England Patriots. So I watched… on DVD in May of that same year. Because on THAT day, February 1, 2004, I was sitting on a plane that was delivering me and 24 other students to our study abroad destination: Cape Town, South Africa.
Knowing I’d be away for the biggest game of the year, I did all I could to support my team. Given my circumstances, this meant wearing a Patriots Jersey on the entire 18 hour plane ride, and a cowboy hat (the hat was more to let people know that I am insane – it worked).
I had a layover in the middle of the long flight, and the layover happened at right around the time the Superbowl should have been over. Luckily for me, there were two other Patriots fans on the plane (which was extremely exciting given that the flight left from New York), so we eagerly asked the pilot to radio back to the States for an update. The wait for news was brutal. I remember how clearly the anxiety weighed on me, and I nearly pounced on any flight staff that walked by servicing the plan we were waiting on for hint of an update.
And then it came. One flight attendant gloriously approached me and the other student that was making the same wish I was and delivered the verdict: The Patriots had defeated the Carolina Panthers 32 to 29.
I still remember that feeling. It was as good as if I had been watching the entire game.
So this morning, at approximately 4:47am Paris time, I woke up to an alert from my phone reading: Final Score – Boston 4, Vancouver 0. And that little message had nearly the same effect as the flight attendant had on me back in 2004. What a great feeling to have been pulling for the winning team!
Though I saw almost none of the final series (I was in Paris for all of the Stanley Cup games), I still felt just as connected to Boston and to my teams as ever. Though football always has been and always will be my favorite, I’m a New England sports fan through and through, and no distance will ever tear us apart!