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News

Patriots Reign Parade

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It would take more than a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain to spoil a celebration for these fanatical football fans

It wasn’t even 10 a.m. Tuesday when crowds of teens and people in their early 20s began congregating for their shivering hero watch on the sidewalk out in front of 100 Cambridge St. in Boston – close to the finish line for what would be the grandest parade celebration yet for America’s best pro football team.

Many of the young fans – who were clad in windbreakers, sneakers and other light clothing not meant for the winter – learned quickly that it wasn’t a great day to be outdoors celebrating in the snow, sleet, rain or whatever combination of “kitchen sink” weather drenched them to the bone.

But for even those who were already soaking wet hours before Boston’s latest duck boat parade got underway, it didn’t matter. They were part of a crowd estimated to be about a million strong who didn’t mind putting up with a little discomfort to honor the New England Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl Championship.

Payback time for Goodell

For many, it was public payback time – a chance to holler disparaging chants about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell – or wave homemade signs and banners ridiculing the commissioner for his four-game suspension of Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in the deflation of footballs during the AFC title game two years ago.

Brady and the Patriots crushed the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in a lopsided contest in which “Deflategate” was born. The Pats then went on to win their fourth Super Bowl title when defensive back Malcom Butler intercepted a pass at the goal line in the closing seconds to snatch a Super Bowl away from the Seattle Seahawks. Deflategate dragged on for more than a year, with Brady finally agreeing to end his court fight last year and sit out the first four games of the regular season.

At age 39, Brady went on to have one his finest years when he returned, leading the Pats to a 14-2 regular season record. Last Sunday, Brady put an exclamation point on the season by rallying the Pats from a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to tie it in the first Super Bowl to go into overtime.

The momentum continued when New England won the coin toss and Brady led the team on its game-winning drive – for the biggest Super Bowl comeback ever. The previous one came two years ago when the Patriots came from 10 points behind in the fourth quarter to beat Seattle on Butler’s game interception.

A rousing rally on a raw, wet day

Last Sunday’s comeback, of course, was even more incredible, setting the stage for Tuesday’s rousing rally despite a raw, wet day that might have discouraged older fans from traveling to Boston for the celebration. Toni Samuels, an independent beauty consultant from Hull, didn’t seem phased by the weather as she peered from under her purple umbrella to the activity on Cambridge Street.

Does she consider herself one of “the biggest fans going” by visiting Boston on such a bad day? “‘Biggest’ isn’t even the right word. It’s more like ‘huge,’ Samuels said, describing her Pats fandom.

Samuels had a nice viewing spot; about 15 feet back from the street. But some of her friends who didn’t dress for the weather said they wanted to walk around to get warm. So, she sacrificed her vantage point to join them.

Nearby, a young woman who appeared to be high school-aged stood in the chilling rain, wearing a light, water-soaked windbreaker with the front unzipped. She wore a t-shirt with a Patriots jersey covering it. Like many of the young spectators in the crowd, she wore sneakers. Her boyfriend worked his hands around her back and shoulders, trying to warm her up as they huddled together in the shivering cold.

As cold as it was – in the low 30s – some fans decided to go shirtless, like a few of the New England Patriots who felt like chilling after enjoying a few cocktails on their duck boats.

Some fans passed the time with victory chants, letting the world know how popular Brady was. There were chants of “MVP! MVP!” and “Brady! Brady!” and “TB 12! TB 12!” as the duck boat he was riding atop of gave him a chance to acknowledge the cheers from his fans by hoisting and waving one of the Vince Lombardi trophies at the crowd.

There were also t-shirts, banners and signs that used a Brady expression from an ad in which he says “Roger That!” when a health care worker for Shields MRI and Shields Healthcare tells Brady, “We’re going to have to get you a new locker” when she takes his four Super Bowl rings. In the updated commercial that was taped months before the Super Bowl, Brady noted that he has one more ring. During the parade, Brady, some of the other Patriots and fans had t-shirts proclaiming “Roger That,” depicting a fist with a fifth Super Bowl ring on his middle finger.

When fans weren’t cheering Brady and other Patriots on the championship team, they were jeering NFL Commissioner Goodell with derogatory signs – some of them too crude to put in this newspaper story. There were a few that questioned Goodell’s intellect. “Goodell eats soup with his fork,” said one sign.

Some fans showed their appreciation by playing catch with Brady or another player on the duck boats. Other fans tossed up beer and other cold alcoholic beverages to express their gratitude.

Saugus’s Phyllis Barone – the subject of a cover story in last week’s Saugus Advocate (“Who’s Saugus’ top Pats fan?”) brought her handmade and waterproof cardboard Brady. “I had more people asking to have their photos taken with Brady and the Super Bowl trophy I made,” Barone said. “I could have made a million dollars for all of the pictures that sold.”

For a Revere-based tow truck company that has satellite offices in Saugus and Peabody, this year’s Super Bowl parade was a true moving experience. G/J Towing & Recovery sent nine of its drivers and five trucks to assist organizers of the duck boat parade in transporting New England Patriots players, relatives and friends, according to GJ’s manager, Brendan Beaver. Some of the GJ drivers got to mingle with Patriots players, who gave them memorabilia and autographs for their volunteer service, according to Beaver.

“Everyone is excited about being a part of this,” Beaver said. “Just a lot of hard work and planning went into it. We were there all day Monday to prepare it, and we’re going to be there for today [Wednesday] to clean it up … It was a great game, one that we will probably never see the likes of again. I really didn’t think they were going to come back.”

 

Sportsworld has “everything Pats”

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GOT GOAT?: Sportsworld owner Phil Castinetti is shown with a standup of Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady at his store on Route 1 south, 87 Broadway, Saugus. From Super Bowl 51 hats, autographed photos, footballs, jerseys and more from this season to decades ago, Sportsworld has “everything Patriots” for the most fervent fan. Sportsworld will also be having a private signing by Tom Brady; (sorry, not at the store), where all your memorabilia will be signed. See the ad in this week’s edition for details.

 

   

Saugus student inducted into BC High’s National Honor Society

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Nicholas White of Saugus, a junior at Boston College High School, was one of the 157 students inducted into the Robert J. Fulton, SJ chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) at the Hunter-Fahey Commons on January 26, 2017.

NHS officers welcomed the guests and spoke about the pillars of excellence guiding the work of NHS: scholarship, character, leadership and service. New members received congratulations and certificates from Principal Stephen Hughes (’73) and Assistant Principal Charles Drane. Earlier, the inductees had received gold NHS pins that were worn on their jacket lapels during the ceremony.

NHS Moderator Patricia Keenan-Byrne welcomed the new members. NHS Officer Gerard Frasca of Melrose invited English teacher Tonya Winter to address the group. The topic of her address was “Failure.” She noted that many highly accomplished figures – like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison and Dr. Seuss – experienced significant failures, but learned from their failures and persisted on. She encouraged students not to avoid risks of failure inherent in worthy pursuits. Dr. Matthew Finnegan and the BC High Concert Band provided the music for the ceremony.

Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college-preparatory school for young men in grades 7 to 12. Founded in 1863, the school enrolls approximately 1,600 students from more than 140 communities in eastern Massachusetts. For more information, access http://www.bchigh.edu.

   

Never a doubt

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Diehard Pats fan Phyllis Barone says she kept faith in Brady comeback when friends had given up

Phyllis Barone said she cheered so hard for the Patriots last Sunday night that she can hardly talk this week. Barone, 54, said she cancelled her doctor’s appointment on Tuesday so she could join more than a million Pats fans at the Super Bowl rally in Boston. Going outside in the snow, sleet and rain doesn’t help her laryngitis any. But Barone said her Patriots come first, and that’s why she needed to be in Boston on such a miserable day – voice or no voice.

While a group of friends were getting ready to bail out of Barone’s Super Bowl party last Sunday night, with the Pats trailing by 25 points in the third quarter, Barone said she kept a positive outlook in a room full of gloomy people. “All of the people at my Super Bowl party wanted to go home because they believed it was impossible for the Patriots to win,” Barone said in an interview this week. “I told them they were going to win. Never give up on my Pats.”

“I’ll never give up on my Pats and I’ll always have Brady’s back. I told you last week that they were definitely going to win – by four points over Atlanta. And they won by six,” she said.

More media attention for her Brady

Barone, who is passionate enough about her Pats to draw national attention to herself and her life-size cardboard Tom Brady, did it again this week. It began on Monday when Barone went to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to greet New England’s championship team who had just arrived, fresh off a 34-28 victory over the Falcons. Television reporters were there to interview her and film her cardboard Brady.

Tuesday morning she got more media attention when she showed up at Government Center, where she was interviewed by an Associate Press reporter whose curiosity was piqued by the cardboard Brady. Fellow fans also wanted to get permission to pose for photographs with her Brady. “Honey, I could have made a million dollars this week … Everybody wants to get their picture taken with Tom,” Barone said.

Barone said she has no plans of parting with Tom anytime soon. In fact, she said he will no longer be left on the front porch during the day. “Now he’s only in the house because they’ll steal him from me for sure because he’s got five trophies on him now. I don’t want somebody robbing him from me like my signs got robbed at the parade,” she said.

Barone said she took some good-natured ribbing when the Patriots dug themselves into a giant hole early against the Falcons. “One of my sisters told me to bring Brady over to the house so she could put him in the fireplace … Well, I believed in my team and when they finally won, I began to dance around like a nut,” she said.

A dedicated volunteer, too

Eileen Browne, assistant director of the food pantry in Everett, said Barone demonstrates the same love and passion in the way she works. “Phyllis is an awesome volunteer here. She puts her whole heart into it,” Browne said of the volunteer who devotes about 15 hours a month in the Grace Food Pantry at the First Baptist Church in Everett, which is located at 50 Church St.

As a sports fan, she works exhaustively to support her team, according to Browne. “By Sunday night, her voice was waning. By Monday morning, it was gone,” she said.

“Phyllis is over the top when it comes to the Patriots. She has no doubts. When people wanted to give up, she just planted her feet and nothing was going to move her … I can’t say I have ever met a fan like Phyllis. She’s totally devoted,” Browne said.

   

New England Patriots fan Rick Sibley talks about why he would travel on a bad weather day to Boston to watch the Patriots hold a Super Bowl Parade

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~ The Advocate Asks ~

Editor’s Note: For this week’s interview, we sat down with Rick Sibley to talk about what motivates him to travel down to Boston in bad weather to watch a duck boat parade. Sibley, in his mid-60s, now lives in Wakefield, Mass. He runs a painting company in Essex County and southern New Hampshire. Highlights of that interview follow.

 

Q: How many sports parades have you been to?

A: This is my fifth and the fourth time I’ve seen the duck boats.

Q: What are your observations about today?

A: Most of the people who came down today are in the 18 to 28 range. There’s a smattering of older people.

Q: So, why did you decide to drive down to Boston today with this terrible kitchen sink weather?

A: Just sharing the joy with other people who are fans.

Q: It’s in the low 30s. It’s very cold, damp and uncomfortable weather.

A: I know how to dress for it. I dress with a lot of layers, with waterproof outerwear and a hoodie. And when I’m finished, I put a Patriots jersey on.

Q: So, how do you prepare for a day like today?

A: It’s really important if you want to be comfortable. Today I saw many people shivering. Younger people who weren’t dressed properly

Q: What’s with these people? Sneakers, house slippers, sandals and shoes that you really shouldn’t wear out in the snow.

A: I have a couple of thoughts on that. They really like to look stylish than comfortable.

Q: So, what else do you observe today as you stand on the street, waiting for the parade?

A: I see a lot of youth alcohol consumption and people throwing snowballs back and forth. For the most part, I see a lot happy people. I find it easy to talk to them. I find it easy to talk to people in different areas,

Q: So, what’s the most odd thing that you see in these parades?

A: Three or four players who are bare-chested. I don’t know whether they are just drunk or showing off their dramatically chiseled physiques.

Q: Any other observations?

A: This seems to be a very friendly crowd, People are interacting with strangers.

Q: And why do people come out in this bad weather?

A: To have a good time and honor the players. Everyone is talking about the unbelievableness of it all and how they won.

   

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