I know it’s not even July, but football season is nearly upon us and I couldn’t be happier.  In just a couple short months, my beloved Patriots will begin playing again, and for the first time in nearly twenty years, I will have season tickets to the games.

I can’t tell you how much I love attending Patriots’ games.  The two-hour drive, the impossible traffic, the tailgating, the food, the bitter cold weather, the screaming fans… I love every part of it. 

Two years ago, during the Patriots’ undefeated regular season, I took my friend, Kelly, to her first game.  We watched the Patriots defeat the Washington Redskins, 52-7, in one of the most lopsided victories that I have ever seen.

My favorite moments from the game included:

  • When Randy Moss was installed on defense at the end of the half to defend against a possible Hail Mary. The Pats got a turnover instead and threw Moss a touchdown a minute later.
  • When the 3,000 or so fans left in the stadium at the end of the game began rooting for Washington with mocking cheers.
  • When Kelly promised not to pee on my leg despite the excitement that she felt over her very first Patriot game

I was actually a little worried about Kelly.  A 52-7 drubbing of the opponent in the midst of an undefeated regular season might have set her future expectations a little high.

I’ve seen this happen before.

In 1998, I took my former step-daughter, Nicole, to her first Yankee game at Yankee Stadium. It turned out to be the day that David Wells pitched a perfect game. The Stadium was buzzing like never before, and at the end of the game, strangers were hugging one another and crying in jubilation.

It forever tarnished Nicole in terms of her appreciation for the game.

The next day, I was watching the game on television when she walked into the living room and said, “The Twins already have 6 hits. That’s terrible.”

It was the 7th inning.

Less than a year later, I would take Nicole to her second game at Yankees Stadium.  This time David Cone pitched a perfect game.  It was Yogi Berra Day at the Stadium and Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history as a member of the Yankees, threw out the first pitch. 

That’s right.  Out of the twenty perfect games in the history of baseball, I have been in attendance at two of them, and Nicole’s first two Major League baseball games ever seen live were perfect games. 

It’s spoiled her on baseball forever. 

So I found myself hoping that Kelly wouldn’t doesn’t expect her golden boy, Tom Brady, to throw three touchdowns and run for two more every time she made it back to Gillette Stadium.  The Patriots played as near a perfect game that day as is possible, but I knew that before long, they would find a way to break my heart.

Little did I know that they would wait for the Super Bowl that year to do so.