Talk to anyone who's been through a messy breakup and they'll always tell you that some days are harder than others. Major holidays. Anniversaries. Birthdays of theirs and of the kids. Those celebrations that were once so special and filled with memories just become sad reminders of all you've lost. For instance, a few Christmas Eve's ago my devoted Irish Rose and I decided to stop for one on the way home from Mass. The bar was closing in a half hour so we made it a quick one. And just in the time we were there a guy glommed onto us and explained it was his first post-divorce holiday. Then proceeded to try to talk us into moving on to some Chinese restaurant with him because they'd be open all night. In other words, he had nowhere else to be and was clearly drinking his regret away. We politely declined. The point is, that one person's celebration is the thing someone else wants to forget in the worst way.
Today is just such a day.
August 3rd has been a big deal around New England for two decades. And it only became more so as Tom Brady's birthdays piled up. When he was a young man, and he famously posed for the Stetson cologne ad in cowboy gear, Matt Light printed out copies and taped them to every offensive lineman's back. By the time he hit 30, it became a tradition for the crowd at training camp to sing to him.
By his late 30s and the Super Bowls kept piling up, it became the biggest holiday in New England.
Two years ago, he got this touching and heartfelt tribute from the team he'd spent 20 years with, fought for, bled with, and enjoyed so much unprecedented success with:
It's rare that you get to witness such a powerful statement of love expressed in a mere 42 seconds. From the iconic skinny Combine photo to the Snow Bowl to connecting with Deion Branch in Super Bowl 39 to his legendary "Sexual Harassment and You" SNL skit to his fistful of rings. This is just a beautiful tribute.
From the Buccaneers thought, he gets this:
Basically an eCard, only sponsored by an orthodonist franchise. With less effort than your average Facebook friend will spent wishing you a Happy One on your next birthday. In 2014 or so, people were putting more imagination into making each other JibJabs than a supposedly proud NFL franchise put into honoring a man who is too good for them. It's appalling and disgusting and I hate this team now more than ever.
And I'm not going to allow what few Bucs fans there are to use Covid as an excuse not to honor the man, either. Quarantine, schmwarantine, if he was still in Foxboro and we weren't allowed into practice, we'd have found a way. There'd be Massholes in the distance on scissor lifts holding signs, moms in No. 12 jerseys with bullhorns singing through their masks, and the skies overhead would be black with the squadron of planes towing banners wishing him well. But alas, he has to settle for this lazy, prefunctory Tweet.
This is a sad day. Made sadder by the woeful embarrassment of an alleged pro football operation he chose over us. But since he once wished me one live on the radio, I'll return the favor: Happy Birthday, Tom. Happy Birthday.