Last November, my parents had me take off a few vacation days from work for a surprise trip as an early Christmas present. I wasn’t told until a couple of weeks before my flight where I would be going, but then they sprung it on me that I would be attending the Sunday Night Football match-up between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks!
For context, I’m an absolutely massive Pats fan and have been for many years. When I was younger, my Dad decided a good father-daughter bonding exercise would be to teach me about football. We used to watch games all Sunday afternoon as he taught me about how the game was played. One day he came home with a Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey for me and I’ve been hooked ever since. Sadly, though, until this trip, I had never been able to see a game in person, whether home or away.
For the trip, Mom came with me. I think I packed every single Pats item of clothing I own for the two of us to wear, plus we went shopping once we arrived in Massachusetts and got great deal on New England merchandise that I really can’t get in Tennessee without paying exorbitant fees. We went to KMart (which I didn’t even realized was still in business) and found all kinds of sweatshirts, t-shirts, jerseys, and mugs for prices I could actually afford.
On game day, we arrived in Foxborough 4-5 hours early because (a) we didn’t want to miss anything, and (b) we knew traffic and parking would be an absolute mess, so the sooner we got there, hopefully the easier we would be able to leave after the game. Even though we didn’t have a tailgate to attend, we weren’t bored at all with all of the extra time. One thing that you don’t see when watching Pats games on TV is that the stadium is actually surrounded by a circular mini-mall called Patriot Place. There were shops, workout studios, restaurants, and even a movie theater. Mom and I had zero problem killing the extra time while wandering around and exploring. Once the gates opened, the masses began flooding in quickly. Our seats were on the very top row of the very top level, but it didn’t matter because I’m convinced there’s no bad view in all of Gillette Stadium.
The one thing I wasn’t quite prepared for was the cold. We had looked at the weather and knew it was supposed to get down to 18° F, so Mom and I were each wearing 4-5 layers up top, plus leg warmers, hats, and gloves, but the wind still cut right through us. It was funny, though, because due to everyone wearing so many layers, anytime anyone in our aisle stood up or sat down, we all got shocked down the line with static electricity!
We didn’t win the game, but that’s OK. The experience alone was so incredibly worth it!