Commentary: A ‘Super’ T-shirt nets variety of reactions

Proud Patriots fan willing to suffer the bad while happy with the good

Harriet Cuthbert poses at the Y with her new favorite T-shirt. Contributed photo

It is amazing how much controversy a simple T-shirt can cause. It never ceases to amaze me how fanatical sports fans are. For example, I know it to be true that in Buenos Aires, if you, as an innocent tourist re wearing the wrong T-shirt — in other words, if you appear to support the “wrong” soccer (futbol) team — you could be seriously hurt.

My T-shirt saga started when John, my neighbor and friend, texted me on Monday night, Feb. 4, that he was flying up to Boston the next day. Since he, like me, is a devout Patriots fan, I texted him back to say he should make sure to attend the team’s victory parade, which was planned for Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Twenty-three duck boats and a million fans later, John sent me photos he took while watching the parade from his excellent vantage point in a downtown office building. At the same time, he said he had bought me a present.

I say, “Thank you,” to anybody who is thoughtful enough to remember me with a present.

On Wednesday night, John and his wife, Anne, came over and brought not one but multiple gifts — a copy of the parade route, the Boston Globeedition with stories about the Patriots’ latest championship, a copy of USA Todayfeaturing the Patriots and a beautiful Championship Super Bowl LIII New England Patriots T-shirt. I was stunned. How beautiful and pristine and impressive is that T-shirt!

I bet that not even the Patriots’ families have caught up to me, yet in terms of souvenirs.

I could not wait to wear my present to the Y on Friday and take in the various reactions. I was fully prepared for a lot of negativity because the majority of football fans seem to be sick and tired of Tom Brady and the Patriots winning so often.

A few guys at the Y admired the shirt and congratulated me, even though I did not do much except root for the team.

As I continued my workout, I met up with a couple more guys who just laughed. At least, they were not being totally outrageous.

On the way home, I stopped at Circle K in Siesta Village. There, a very large man in line noticed the T-shirt and screamed and yelled in mock fright. I could not stop laughing.

The parking attendant in the Davidson Plaza parking lot wanted to get a pair scissors and rip the shirt to threads.

And one of the male volunteers at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, who is a longtime friend, wanted to pretend I was invisible so he would not have to look at the T-shirt.

But my last encounter of the day was a little more encouraging.  I wore the T-shirt to the beach, and a very nice, polite man approached me. After he congratulated me (again, I had nothing to do with the team’s win), he said he was jealous and wished he had a New England Patriots Super Bowl LIII Championship T-shirt. I told him that Tom Brady would be back for at least 10 more years and not to give up hope.

See you next year in Miami.