It’s an issue that’s driving my community apart.
I don’t mean the wall or the shutdown or the policies coming out of Juneau. I’m not even talking about the fish board or any recent decisions by the borough assembly or our city councils.
No, the wedge issue pitting neighbor against neighbor is the fact that the New England Patriots keep making it to the Super Bowl.
Don’t believe me? Let me offer this as proof. Just this past week, a young sports fan noticed that I my hat had a Patriots logo on it.
“Are you a Patriots fan?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. “I grew up in that area.”
I was not prepared for the hostility in his response.
“We hate the Patriots,” he said.
His family, he explained, roots for the Seahawks, and I guess they’re still not over that whole should’ve-handed-the-ball-to-Marshawn Lynch thing.
But hate? I guess it’s true what they say, that familiarity breeds contempt. I mean, I think this young fan was 10 or 11 years old, and if that’s the case, then the Patriots have played in about half the Super Bowls in his lifetime. Perhaps it might comfort him to know that since the 2007 season, the Patriots have lost more Super Bowls than they’ve won.
I guess if one of those wins was against your team, it can be hard to get over.
The Patriots are even causing some angst in my own household. Someone asked me if I get tired of watching my team going to the Super Bowl every year, and I have to say, yes, I do. As much as I like to see my favorite team play in the big game, here’s the problem: we can’t have Super Bowl parties any more.
I used to love hosting Super Bowl parties. We would pick a theme for the food based on the host city or the participating teams. (I have to thank the 2006 Chicago Bears for inspiring us to find a recipe for homemade deep dish pizza; it’s still one of our favorites. And Patriots haters should be appreciative of those 1985 Bears, too.) My kids, who are now in high school, grew up associating the Super Bowl with great food, and planning the menu was a great family bonding experience.
But it’s hard to be a good host and pay attention to the game. What’s more, watching football in our house has gotten to be pretty intense, and I’m not sure it’s appropriate for guests.
In fact, I’m not sure it’s appropriate for everyone in our household. I’m not worried about the kids at this point — they’re used to it — but our poor dogs!
I was traveling back from Wasilla when the Patriots were playing last week, so I’m not sure exactly what happened. But when I got home, one of our dogs was so skittish, he would barely even come to the door and spent the evening hiding in the bedroom. I guess there was a lot of yelling and screaming, maybe even more than usual. We had gotten him some sedatives because of all the fireworks in the neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, and now I’m thinking we might want to give him a dose before kickoff next week.
I know that at this point, there aren’t too many of you with any sympathy for me whatsoever. I’m not looking for sympathy. After all, the Patriots’ run of success is unprecedented. I don’t think even Patriots fans can quite comprehend how to deal with it.
No, I’m just asking for a little bit of understanding. Please know, we’re just as emotional about our team as you are about yours. When someone else says they hate our team, it hurts. And I just hate to see something like that drive us apart.
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• By WILL MORROW