What the hell is a GOAT anyway?

If you’re born in New England, you are legally required to be a New England Patriots fan.

It’s wired in our DNA. Infused in our water. Brewed in our coffee.

It’s like not brushing your teeth or wearing your seatbelt: if you don’t cheer for them, it just feels….. weird.

Personally, although I grew up and from New England, I have a mixed relationship with football. Half of me is still having fun in the marching band with my friends during high school football games. Being part of the crowd, cheering, is so fun. I like how sports can bring us all together. And I’ll never miss an opportunity to thank the women and men of our armed forces for their sacrifices and everything they give and do for our nation.

The other half of me abhors the violence. I keep worrying about how many playes are getting concussions as I watch — or how many have been charged with domestic violence or assault. Sexism and football go hand-in-hand. Just seeing the cheerleaders in skimpy outfits jiggling for all they’ve got makes me throw up in my mouth.

Not too mention all that energy and waste: just think of how many  people in the world we could feed or cure or house with the resources and money spent on a sport. Football = money, plain and simple. White male straight money to the 1%.

And then there’s the racism. My sweet lord the racism. Americans have been divided on the players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, the racist prison system, and the treatment of black Americans. I never understood those who were angry at the kneeling. It’s respectful and non-violent civil disobience. I admire Colin Kaepernik so much for making this a national conversation.

(I promise I’m not a Superbowl party buzzkill. I keep those thoughts to myself…mostly… And my blog. Unless I find someone else who wants to discuss during commercials.)

Honestly, there are many times when I wish I hadn’t swallowed the red pill and could just enjoy the game without the worries and guilt.

But much more than that, I wish we could come together through sport to tap into its strength, perserverance, and community and put them to use to address the larger, underlying problems we face in the world. Atheletes are incredible, pushing themselves to places they only dreamed were possible. When we cheering them on, we can put aside our differences to come together and have fun. Why aren’t we putting that strength and comraderie to use addressing the social and environmental issues that threaten us?

I know I’m going to try and channel the confidence, strength and come-back-from-behind-ness I’ve seen from the Patriots. With the Winter Olympics (and both the Special Olympics and the Invictus Games coming this summer), I’m reminded how as humans we all face obstacles we have to overcome. Sports show us that we can overcome them. My marathon is chronic migraine, and I won’t give up in my fight to get healthier.

I will be the GOAT* of chronic migraine. After all, I’m from New England. And if Gisele…. err, Tom Brady….can do it, so can I.



*PS GOAT stands for “Greatest of All Time.” Yeah, I had to look it up too.

** PPS Justin Timberlake still gots it!