Sometimes there are moments in the life of a community that transcend the petty squabbles, that make people forget their problems, at least for a little while, and smile more broadly — even at each other. This is one of those moments.
That this Super Bowl victory comes just in time to break up our usually bleak New England winter simply adds to the collective joy of watching the Patriots earn one more win and fans earn the right to skip out on work and school to head to one more Duck Boat parade.
Patriots fans — and who in New England isn’t one today? — should, of course, be used to all this. Used to the hoopla. (What do people do in the rest of the country on Super Bowl Sunday without a team on the field?) And certainly used to the winning. Isn’t it funny how the winning never gets tired?
But dynasties don’t just happen. This dynasty, built by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, is no exception. It was constructed player by player, trade by sometimes controversial trade. The result? Nine Super Bowl appearances since the 2001-2002 season under the coaching of Bill Belichick with the incomparable Tom Brady as his quarterback. The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy calls this period the High Renaissance of New England pro sports, with not only six championships for the Pats, but four for the Red Sox and one each for the Celtics and Bruins — and it truly is.
But this one was special. This one was for every doubter, every skeptic who thought Brady was getting too old to play the game he loves, that even the Belichick magic was beginning to dim during a season of highs and lows. Seriously, what was this 41-year-old guy doing playing against a quarterback who was a mere 7 years old when Brady won his first Super Bowl? Yes, it was a victory of age and experience — an inspiration to aging weekend athletes everywhere — and of a never-give-up attitude and work ethic that have been at the core of what it means to be a New England Patriot.
And this is a team that has always found a way to truly be a team — to work hard, play hard (on and off the field) together and to give back to the community at countless charity events, public appearances, and not-so-public appearances at many a hospital bedside.
Sports generally — and this team in particular — have a way of bringing people together too. In the immortal words of Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman on the morning after his triumph, “Why you gotta hate? Collaborate.”
At a time when people are too often focused on that which divides us — politics, race, religion — the Patriots showed what can happen when people work together for a common purpose, when they “collaborate.” That lesson alone should be worth a Duck Boat parade. But this one just happens to come with the Lombardi Trophy. And on a balmy day in February, that’s truly something to celebrate.