The day was hot when I arrived at Gillette Stadium, but not unbearably so. The parking lot was starting to fill up as practice started at 5:30 and I’d arrived at 5:05, a little later than I’d wanted as I’d gone through two traffic slowdowns because of construction on the way in.
I got out, wearing my Patriots’ cap and scrunchy and Brady jersey. The walk was short to the practice fields, and I went through the giant inflatable helmet that records the number of people attending practice. It’s the same helmet that the players run through to get onto the field on gamedays.
I decided to try a First Down Frank, the hot dogs that the Patriots’ owners, the Kraft family, were pushing, one of a whole line of meat products perfect for tailgate cooking on gamedays. It was really good! Juicy and tasted like a real hot dog, not some tasteless dreck palmed off on the public.
I got a good seat in a section at the end and watched as the players warmed up. The practice began and I did see my Tommy ;) and he was in fine form. He throws a beautiful spiral ball, and there were some Brady-to-Moss connections that were smooth as silk. One time Tom botched a throw and he made a big show of slamming the ball down and we all laughed, playing along with the joke. He’s not the type to act like a jerk, so as frustrated as he was we knew it was exaggerated. J He smiled and joked and it was generally a good show.
Gorgeous men running around in tight uniforms! How could training camp not be interesting? ;)
We saw plenty of passing drills, the footballs flying high and fast as each receiver caught them, and there were running drills, punting drills, and we got to situational football (first-and-ten, third-and-four, fourth-and-one). I was particularly interested in the 11-on-11 drills with the first units showing some spark, and the goal-line stands were interesting, too. When you’re down at the goal line, it’s tougher to defend as the field is so short, but there have been memorable stands, particularly those of the Patriots against the Colts in November 0f 2003, when the Colts had four tries on the one-yard line and failed. You don’t see that too often! J
People in the stands were all having a good time. Vendors hawked ice-cold water, lemonade, Papa Gino’s pizzas, and frozen Popsicle sticks. The jerseys I counted were of an interesting variety, several names stitched on them of different players, but the winner hands down was Tom Brady. J There were Brady jerseys on babies, little girls and boys, teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged adults. There were blue home jerseys and white away jerseys and the third silver jersey. There were even jerseys pink-and-white, which is okay to acknowledge female fans, but pink Patriots’ apparel irritates me like pink Red Sox hats: I’m female, and I wouldn’t wear these. I want the real caps and jerseys, thank you very much. As much as I admire Tom’s natural beauty, I admire his football talent as well. Without that talent, he’d just be another pretty boy.
As the shade spread across the field, the temperature cooled down a little and the action heated up on the field. We saw some excellent passes, some good linebacker play, and an interception.
As things began to wind down, some of the players came over to the crowd to sign autographs. I took a few pictures to add to the ones I took during practice, and then left for the parking lot.
The admission and parking are free, plenty of food and drink available for purchase, and close-up viewing of our football team in action always makes for a pleasant time.
As the dog days of August drag on, we’ll always have Foxboro. ;)