I want to start off by saying thank you so much for reading this series. I'm just a really passionate Patriots fan who wanted to use this space to just give you a little history about me and my family and why football means a lot more to me than just a game, especailly since the Patriots have come to dominiate this league.
I was born on July 12th, 1990 in Northampton MA to Patty and David Brooks. We lived in a raised ranch house on Phelps Street in Easthampton MA. I can remember the house vividly. I would tell you about it in deep detail but I drive past the house every Sunday the Patriots play so I'll be brief. Beige house, green shutters. Simple as that. But something in our house stood out to the rest of the neighborhood. My father had amassed a collection of Patriots memorabilia unlike anything this side of Massachusetts had ever seen. What would come to be known simply as, the shrine.
The Shrine was my fathers ode to the team. A lifetime of stuff. From simple things like an old TV Guide cover to a Luchador mask he found on eBay. I still remember walking into the shrine. The outside doors spring had broke so the door would slam loud as hell if you didn't catch it before it slammed. There was a "flying Elvis" painted on the floor and a bar table right above the painting. Mind you this garage went through multiple "Fung Shui" moves but this is how I remember it. We had two couches in the garage, one behind the other. The second couch was on pallets to create a movie theater feel and give a better view of the 43 inch CRT TV we got from my uncle after he passed.
We also had the bench. The bench is what we called one of my fathers prized possessions. If you're aware of Patriots history you know that Gillette Stadium wasn't always their home. The stadium before it was simply known as Foxboro Stadium. My parents had season tickets for as long as I can remember. We lost our tickets in 2012 because of some tough financial times. But before we lost our tickets my dad had a chance only a certain number of folks had. Every season ticket holder for the Patriots was offered to buy the metal bench they had with their tickets. My parents jumped at the chance. We still have that bench hanging in the new shrine today.
The singular defining moment in my family's fandom happened in the year 2000. I'll remember this day for the rest of my life. My dad picked me up from middle school. I climbed into his Nissan Pathfinder and we took the short drive to our house. When we got home I headed up the stairs and towards my room. My dad went about his normal routine of dropping some stuff on the counter and checking the answering machine. For those to old to know what that is, it's basically a box that records voicemails. What came next would change things forever. I remember hearing my dad scream "OH MY GOD" and I immediately ran to see what was going on. He picked me up and said "I got 2000 Patriots Fan of The Year!" I don't know if I've ever seen my old man that happy.
With being Fan of The Year came some pretty cool perks. My dad and I went to CMGI Field during its construction. That was going to be the name of the stadium before Gillette stepped in and bought the naming rights. We went to exclusive parties and met players and coaches. For me it was an insane experience. I never really got into super heroes when I was younger. My super heroes played on Sunday. Drew Bledsoe was my guy. His jersey was the first authentic I'd ever had. The Patriots had a small celebration for my dad and Mr Kraft presented him with his trophy on the field before the game started. It was against the Dolphins. During halftime they ran a little video thing for my dad on the JumboTron.
It was defintely a once in a lifetime experience. Today I still have the same passion for the Patriots as I did back then. Maybe more today. I've moved out of Massachusetts and live in Connecticut now. Patriots football means a lot to me simply because on Sunday's I can get my dog into the car, drive to my dad's, and see all my friends. Some of those friends being one's I've had almost my whole life. So I want to again say thank you for reading this series. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
By: Justin Brooks