I like to claim that my dad is single-handedly responsible for the New England Patriots’ dynasty. A Giants fan born and raised, Pop decided to make the switch and buy Patriots season tickets when we moved to Massachusetts, but only after Bill Parcells was named head coach. After watching the Big Tuna’s success at the Giants, Pop saw the writing on the wall well before Tom Brady even went to prom. The Patriots were going places and it was Chuck Horan’s faith and dedication over the years that has propelled them to 5 Super Bowl championships. You’re good, Pop… you’re good.
But for me, the real prize hasn’t been the Super Bowl rings or parades, it has been sitting in the backseat watching Pop drive to Foxboro for the games. More specifically, driving from the exit to the parking lot. It’s a beautiful, hilarious thing.
Traffic on Route 1 heading into Foxboro Stadium, and now Gillette, has always been the stuff dreams are made of if you really really enjoy sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for 8 years while you need to pee. So generally we left at the crack of dawn to get a little ahead of it and to find a prime tailgating location. And the prime tailgating location has three distinct characteristics:
1. Double Wide: Pop goes to the games with his friend Brian and whatever other friends, family members, or co-workers he likes the best that week. I haven’t been to a game in two years so I should really start Googling “amazing Christmas presents” now. With two cars of people tailgating together, finding the Double Wide tailgating spot is a nonnegotiable and preparation starts well before you even get to the parking lot. It is critical to stick together through the traffic. As such, Pop and Brian have developed a system of driving picks and rolls that is downright masterful. It also usually involves a lot of yelling. “Brian! Brian, you gotta block for me! Brian, what are you doing!?! BRIAN!” It sometimes involves cell phone conversations so that the yelling actually reaches Brian.
2. Trunks Out: Any good tailgater knows you want to tailgate out of the back. Easier unload and reload, maximum tailgating time. So once you get your two car lineup going into the parking lot, you need to start scouting. Mind you there are many teenagers directing traffic in the parking lot to make sure the maximum number of vehicles can fit in the most efficient manner. Most of the teenagers only pretend to care, but some care a lot and those are the ones I feel bad for. Through a serious of frantic hand motioning and more yelling, Pop and Brian find their Double Wide and then proceed to ignore all well-meaning teenage instruction to avoid pulling through. They always do it with a smile and a wave, but still it never ceases to amaze me when we get back to the cars later and the teenagers haven’t stolen our tires.
3. Egress: This one is the hardest but perhaps the most important to my dad. You gotta get good egress. Traffic going into Foxboro is nothing compared to the traffic leaving so to play your cards right you need an edge spot so you can sneak out of there like a master thief. You also need to sprint out of the stadium as if you are being hunted by a pack of wild dogs, but that comes later. My favorite part about egress spots is the number of times Pop will say egress. The man even talks about good egress when finding a parking spot at church. You really gotta get good egress…
I’ve only seen the Trifecta once or twice in my lifetime but man does it make my dad happy when it is achieved. So as we approach my dad’s birthday this weekend, I wish for him another great Patriots’ season but more importantly a season of double wide trunk out egress. Happy Birthday, Pop!
With the understanding that I haven’t gone to games in two years because I had two babies and it has little to do with how much my dad loves me,