As we all know, the Patriots' playoff hopes were crushed at home last Sunday.
So, where do you think I had to go on Thursday, for a day-long, work-related meeting?
Gillette Stadium, that's where. THE SCENE OF THE CRIME.
One of my friends, hearing of this on Wednesday, urged me to call in sick. Another said, simply, "too soon."
But I "manned up" and went -- first of all, I am a Professional (ahem). And secondly, it was the only time I've actually seen the stadium this year, since I never got tickets to any games in the 2010-11 season.
Okay, NOW I'm depressed...
On the brighter side, I have never and will never have parking this good at this place again. Such as me is not allowed to walk into this lot on game days, as a matter of fact.
And it dulled my pain, somewhat, to get some interesting shots of the completely empty stadium out the windows of the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse (another place I have never and will never be allowed into on an actual game day). [More stadium shots on Flickr]
That is, until I suddenly noticed two things at once, while scanning the field for photo ops, that made me decide to stop looking out the windows: 1) workers removing the Patriots banner from the field wall, and 2) the playoff logo still painted on the field.
At that moment, suddenly I couldn't help but think of the classic (and, warning to the sensitive, fairly vulgar) line that Dante yells at his obnoxious friend Randall toward the end of Clerks, the one that ends with "pouring sugar in my gas tank."
In this case, it was more like, what's the encore, they roll up the championship banners for the winter while I'm here to see it, too? Or hell, why not set 'em on fire while I'm watching, today, and then get some fresh ones before next season starts...
I think the friend who said "too soon" hit the nail right on the head.
Turning my attention back indoors, I got sidetracked (and cheered up a little) ogling the many amazing framed photos on the wall in the clubhouse. [More of these on Facebook]
I have heard (though of course I forget where) that these photos were once in the team clubhouse to remind the players of what they'd accomplished, but then Belichick had them taken out when a new crop of young players arrived, telling them they'd have to produce their own highlights to be captured on film for posterity.
This photo also shows just one part of the immense bar in the Clubhouse. Have I made clear that it is ever so posh in there, sweeties, darlings?
I get the sense being an attendant up here is a high-seniority job among the stadium workers. I had a pretty great conversation with a couple of these ladies about the people they've met while working there (let's just say I have been assured that Tom Brady's younger son looks exactly like him).
So I guess, in the end, getting to see a part of Gillette I wouldn't have otherwise was kind of a nice experience, in its own way. Even if the timing also made it more than a little ironic and bittersweet.