Super Bowl Experience

Adam Riegel

         This year’s playoffs and Super Bowl was a whirlwind experience. The Reading game was much tougher than anyone had expected. In case that game wasn’t tough enough, the whole issue of Mansfield’s ineligibility, the injunction to play, and then the MIAA’s decision not to appeal the ruling brought about unnecessary commotion in a time when the team was supposed to be completely focused on Super Bowl preparation. Thus Wednesday, instead of preparing physically, the team prepared mentally, a majority traveling to BR to watch Mansfield handle defending Super Bowl Champs Bishop Feehan.

            Thursday arrived and the captains headed off to Gillette Stadium with Coach Danny Villa and Mr. Alan Bernstein to receive a briefing on all of the need to know for the game on Saturday. After a sizable buffet style breakfast and speeches by Steve Grogan, Andre Tippet, and Robert Kraft, the captains from all of the Super Bowl teams and their coaches were toured around the facility and ended their tour on the field where a mini-press conference was held. Newspapers and radio stations went around interviewing all of the players and the coaches were interviewed by Gary Tanguay, who would later be doing the televised commentary.

            Upon our return to the high school, two long days of practice followed. Nerves and excitement came to the forefront, and by Saturday morning, “showtime” was already upon us. The game was to be held at 1:30 a far cry from the 9 p.m. start of a year before. As a team we peaked at the perfect time. Everyone is deserving of the highest praise, but I personally have to congratulate my fellow lineman David Parkinson, who, after being phased out of the defense over past weeks, stepped in and provided a dominant presence up the middle, forcing a fumble and playing the way everyone knew he could. Similarly fellow juniors Nick Romaine and Peter Bowes continued their fantastic play on defense. Their performance now serves as a solid hope for a strong defense next year once this year’s senior laden defense graduates.

            The game flew by, and despite bumps and bruises, everyone sprinted up the stairs to receive our championship trophy. Fans of all ages, former players, coaches, and members of the Walpole community were there congratulating us, and the team finally felt the true notion of Rebel Pride, engulfed by the generations of fan base.

            With the game over, my mind has hardly slowed down. The feeling of accomplishment certainly allows for amazing night sleeps, and everyone keeps complimenting us. Numerous papers had multiple articles about the Rebels’ success and the first Super Bowl back in Walpole since 1997. This past Wednesday we got our Super Bowl Rings fitted – the only time you would possibly see any of us smile bigger than right after the Super Bowl would be if you were there to see as trying on ring sizes. Mr. Bernstein held a pizza party for the seniors as a way of congratulation this past Friday.  Most recently, two nights ago the team was recognized at the Town Meeting, where the members of the board told us different epithets, congratulated us, and emphasized our new role in the community as leaders for the students to come.

            Almost a week and a half after winning and the accolades keep coming. Today, the captains returned to Gillette with Coach Villa; he received “Coach of the Year” Honors. Upon arrival, we went through a thorough screening that involved making a temporary ID in order to enter. Once approved, Andre Tippet led us around. First we went into the film production room. From there we joined Mike Lynch on the set of Patriots’ All Access. Here, Coach Villa officially received his award. From here we received a comprehensive tour of the facilities. The highlight of this tour was when we entered the Patriots’ weight and locker room only to be greated by the friendly visages of Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi.  We ended the tour looking around in The Hall, which was an incredible look at all things Patriots with the rings, the trophies, and some interective activities. Not to bad for a high school team eh? 

            This fantastic experience has been made even better because of the group of kids with whom it occurred. We have all been committed to this for so long, and as cliché as it seems, a brotherhood aspect has definitely grown. No one can ever takes this win away from us, and I can’t imagine a better way to go out as a senior.