The Peer Pressure of the Patriots

I am not a football fan. I never have been and probably never will be. Maybe it’s because my family is so divided when it comes to football. With baseball or hockey, it’s easy for me to pick and choose which team I support, because everyone likes one team or another. When it comes to football, however, my family is split between the Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants, the New Orlean Saints, and the New York Jets. I never really had an interest in football to begin with; all the rules and techniques confused me and the game just didn’t grab my attention. All of the different teams my family rooted for just confused me further.

The only thing my family could agree on when it came to football was their dislike for the New England Patriots. It wasn’t anything personal, it just stemmed from the history of the Boston vs. New York rivalry when it came to sports. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, but it was there. Their dislike for the Patriots really shone through when I told them I wanted the Patriots to win so I could see what Boston would be like and they acted like they were seriously considering disowning me.

This Super Bowl was the same as any other. I watched it with a group of people with varying levels of interest in football and I didn’t really care about the game.  Most of my friends actually cared about football and paid attention to the game. They got up out of their seats when it got really intense and they were constantly yelling and cursing at the TV.  I didn’t understand any of this, so I just sat on Tumblr and waited for commercials and the half time show. I know that is such a stereotypical non-football fan thing to say – “I just watch for the commercials”- but in my case it’s true.

What happened after the Super Bowl is what really stuck out to me. Normally, when the Super Bowl is over, I take my laptop upstairs and I go to bed. However, this time was way different. When the Patriots won, everyone in the common room was yelling. I was so confused. I knew they had won, but I didn’t fully understand why they won or why everyone was freaking out over the play that caused them to win. People were running down the hallways and banging on walls and chanting. It honestly didn’t feel like real life.

Then, even though it was 11:30 p.m. on a school night and it was probably 10 degrees out, my friends decided it would be a grand idea to go outside and see what was happening. I went along. Part of me genuinely wanted to see what the city was like, and part of me just didn’t want to be left alone inside while everyone else went out. So, that’s how I found myself outside in Converse and sweatpants in the middle of the winter screaming about a team I didn’t even really care about: a toxic mixture of curiosity and peer pressure.

I am glad I went out even if my body didn’t like me for it afterwards. That’s the weird thing about adrenaline; it kept me warm even though I was in snow up to my knees and my socks were soaked through. My one friend was outside in a t-shirt and shorts, running along the snow and yelling. People were pouring out of the T stations and running across Boylston Street. Enthusiastic fans in jerseys were driving down the street with their bodies halfway out their cars screaming at those who had formed on the street. People were standing at their windows in apartment buildings and waving to us as we passed by. There were even some young children still up and standing at the windows! The mob that had formed ran through the snow and crowded into the gazebo in the middle of the Boston Common, becoming a force that chanted expletives about the Seahawks and smelled strongly of alcohol and weed. The weirdest thing by far was that I enjoyed every second of it.

I think that’s the strange thing about groups. I may not have been a Patriots fan, or even a football fan, but something about the enthusiasm of those who were fans, caused me to do something as crazy as running outside just so I could say I experienced something. I may not be a football fan, but I think I can confidently say that this was one Super Bowl I will remember for a long time.

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