I know it's only a game.
It's a game played by men who I have never met and never will.
Still, I feel sorry for those who don't have the opportunity to experience the sense of collective purpose and love that being a sport fan can bring. I can't imagine missing out on the unmitigated euphoria that a victory like last night can offer.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl in the most dramatic fashion possible, capping off a season of obstacles and hardships. Their quarterback was (in the mind of every physicist) unfairly suspended for four games, and they were stripped of a first round draft pick. Their backup quarterback was injured in his second game, requiring their rookie, third string quarterback to play. Their second best player - one of the greatest tight ends of all time - was injured and could not play for most of the season.
They overcame each obstacle and remained mentally tough on the biggest, brightest stage in the world. They won glory last night. Eternal, unforgettable glory.
I stood with these men who I have never met and never will all season long. I stood in the sun and freezing rain and snow at Gillette Stadium, cheering them on. I rearranged every Sunday afternoon during the season so I could watch them perform. I stood in muddy parking lots with friends before the games eating meat and talking about the game. I was not a member of the 2016 New England Patriots, but I'll be damned if I didn't feel like one.
Just as important, this team has brought me closer and closer to the people I love most. With each play, each game, and each football season, I take a step closer and closer into the hearts and minds of these friends.
It is a collective joining of spirit and soul that is so rarely found in today's world. It's a mutual understanding of who we are and who we can be through our hope, our pain, our sorrow, and our joy. It's an opening of hearts and a baring of souls. We learn about our frailties. Our strengths. The way we handle pressure. The way we manage disappointment. The way we accept defeat. We learn about who we can poke. Where we can prod. When we must be gentle.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl last night. It was a historic victory. An unforgettable football game. A moment of a lifetime.
It was also a night when many of the people who I love most joined in sprit and soul and took one collective step forward into a ever-closing circle of friendship and love.
I know. It's only a game. Except it's so much more.