First a funny little anecdote. Sunday morning I woke up at my best friend's house where I and a few other friends had crashed after a bachelorette party Saturday night. In the room with me were myself, my best friend, my best friend's boyfriend, and my friends Andy and Tim, both gay. K's boyfriend and I were watching ESPN, which was devoting a soft-focus, pretentiously soundtracked montage retrospective to Carson Palmer's injury during last year's playoffs.
Timmy looked up from his iBook to watch it bemusedly for a few moments. "The schmaltz of sports coverage is sometimes surprising," he said. "The drama they put into it."
"You have a point," I replied. "But, I mean...he blew out his knee. It was their first trip to the playoffs in a decade and his second play from scrimmage."
That Patriots game was just what I needed. The barbarism and brutality of it...the merciless, systematic, almost surgical dismantling of a very good opponent...the sheer, unadulterated dominance of the Patriots win.
At this point in the baseball season--about a third of the way through, give or take, the feeling is entirely different. I believe that at this point in the baseball season, we're all still rejoicing about the return of spring to the earth and other such pagan-esque conflations and overinflations of the sport. Around now, a baseball team has already played a mind-numbing number of games, and they're beginning to blur together, but pleasantly. The little shards and scenes and pieces of games that stay with you are couched comfortably in a blur of extravagant sunshine, fresh grass, sweet-smelling dirt, popcorn, hot dogs, fluffy clouds...
We in Boston approach this football season already beaten into submission by the fortunes (or lack thereof) of our baseball team. Now is not the time for nostalgia and picnic blankets. Now what we need is revenge.
For a while, the Patriots weren't delivering. They were squeaking out wins, but it wasn't the same Prussian march to absolute victory to which we have become accustomed. Then, last week, facing the resurgent Cincinnati Bengals--the same Bengals that had shocked the World Champions the week before--there it was.
To say the running game came together would be an understatement. "We have 200-plus yards rushing," my Dad kept saying during the second half. "The New England Patriots have over 200 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns."
Brady got his points in too, gunning a couple of touchdown passes and grinning behind his facemask by the end.
But by far the most pleasurable part of the game came in what could be termed "garbage time" in the fourth quarter, when Carson Palmer was sacked and stripped of the ball thankyouverymuch, and the turnover was capped off by a Patriots' touchdown.
"That's right," I said. "Break their spirits. Put 'em away." There is no more vicious oppressor than one who has been a victim.
Now all we need is for the Patriots to roll right over Miami next week, and put that Sports Illustrated prediction nonsense to rest once and for all.