My Connection to the Patriots

Ok Colts fans, I know it sounds terrible, but before you panic, please read the rest of the story…

In last Saturday’s loss to the Patriots, I was facing a familiar foe… I just didn’t know it.

To understand what I mean, we’ll have to go back in time, so get ready for a high school flashback (just be thankful I went in the 90’s). For high school, I attended Joliet Catholic Academy, and as was customary, I lifted weights at a local gym with the rest of my high school teammates. This place was not open to the public: partially because it was basically a warehouse with old weights in it, partially because it wouldn’t live up to the cleanliness standards of your average spandex-wearing gym goer, and mostly because the gym’s primary focus was our football team.

Anyway, JCA football players weren’t the only gyms goers there. We had power lifters, police officers (the owner was both), some other local high school players, and occasionally some older college and even pro players that would come back to train with us in their off-season. One NFL guy would come in and run and lift with us, not talk much, but always seemed friendly. I didn’t think much of it, and kind of forgot about it… UNTIL THIS PAST SATURDAY.

With an 8:30pm game, there isn’t much to do but eat food and hang out in your hotel room until you leave for the stadium. During this time, I got a text from my friend back home asking me “Who is Rob?” and sent me a picture of a comment from my Facebook page. The owner of that gym I worked out at during high school had written on my wall, “Good luck today Colby say hi to Rob after the game . Two guys from Rudy’s Gym.” (Yes, he misspells my name. Sorry Rudy, it’s true.) I racked my brain trying to think of who he could be referring to, but couldn’t think of anyone. So I pulled out my handy-dandy smartphone and looked up the Patriots roster. Thankfully Rob Ninkovich’s headshot was taken before his impressive beard was grown out, because I wouldn’t have recognized him.

So, I trained with the guy I was going to go up against every play during the game, hadn’t seen him in six or seven years, and didn’t even know his name until I had an epiphany hours before the game. I was hoping to say hello during pregame warm-ups, but he wasn’t out on the field at all (actually, very few Patriots were interestingly). So the game began, with Rob and I looking right at each other before the play and… not saying a word the entire game. Once the game starts you tend to forget cute stories like this for fear of losing focus for just an instant and getting clobbered by one of the many large human beings running at full speed all around you.

After the game we shook hands, and I told him my story. I guess Rob didn’t find my story funny or Coach Belicheck has rubbed off on him, because he barely cracked a smile. Either way, I wished him luck and good health for the duration of the season, and I ran back to our locker room.