Family Opening by Denise Hayes

My favorite memory has to be on Monday, September 9, 2002 – the first game at Gillette Stadium when the first Super Bowl banner was unveiled. As Patriots season ticket holders since 1961 (went to all the games in 1960 too), this was a family highlight. I went to the last game at Foxboro Stadium (a.k.a. The Snow Bowl) with my brother and sister, and we pledged to be at the opening of the new stadium the next season. Little did we know that there would be much more to celebrate. The commitment was in jeopardy when I mistakenly scheduled an important work meeting in Chicago on the same day. I “kicked off” the meeting, changed into my game day shirt in the airport restroom and headed east to deliver on my commitment. The company CEO (not a sports fan) was perplexed but did not stand in my way. Seeing the fabulous stadium and experiencing the excitement of a banner-raising with my brother and sister will be with me forever. We know that our father was there in spirit too. Our Patriots fandom is now on its 4th generation (see photo).

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