February 2008


I came within a hair of an accident last week. On the way in to work, the roads were slick with snow, and I was going down the windy road to Natick, when this car pulled out right into the street, and stopped in my path. I was going too fast to stop, so I swerved left to get around him, and barely avoided hitting him. But the swerve put me on a collision course with a car coming from the other direction. With the slick road, he couldn’t stop either, and when I turned my car just kept sliding forward.

At the last second my wheels caught the road and I veered right, just missing him. I got back onto my side of the road and was fishtailing around before I regained control. The whole rest of the ride in my heart pounded, I thanked God even though I don’t believe in him, and the rest of the day I felt wasted.

It wouldn’t have been too major of an accident; I wasn’t going that fast. But sliding head-on toward that car, with nothing to do but hope (and maybe pump the brakes?) — when you’ve led a charmed life, those moments of true panic stick with you.

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So the Pats lost. It looked like they had it for a minute there, or two, before the Giants drove down the field with the gamewinning drive. We gnashed our teeth on Chad and Anar’s couch when the last balls sailed just out of reach, and then moped about cutting our wrists and actually reading books. This too shall pass.

It’s poetic and grand in its own way, and feels not-quite-wrong. The Pats were the impossible story in 2001, the band of nobodies who rose up for the common man and took one out of the hands of the elite. Then they kept doing it, and we got used to it: they became the elite. When they couldn’t keep on top they stocked up on star players of the sort they’d never had before, and stomped the competition like a true goliath.

But if you make yourself a big enough target, everyone’s going to take a shot at you, and they did. They scraped by when they had been cleaning up, and finally, at the very end, when perfection was in their grasp, the scrappy underdogs broke through, just as the Pats had years ago. Rather than tasting the familiar victory once again, a new team and a new set a fans got to feel that incredible feeling that comes once in a lifetime–of achieving the impossible upset, of slaying Goliath.

I feel a little sad, but it’s okay. Now I can leave this behind and look at the other things in my life. Yes, there are good books to read. I’m reading Hunger by Knut Hamsum, which is turning out to be pretty good. We’ve got literature textbooks to write at work, and a tribute to write at the home business. Plus, Isa and I plan on going to Costa Rica in a couple of months. (You can see what she’s up to at lizandrws.blogspot.com.)

This one hurts, but not too badly. How many teams would kill to turn in the season the Pats did this season? It was good drama, and I’ll be interested to see what the next chapter brings. But for now I think I’ll think about something else.