If someone had asked me when I was a kid if I thought I would live to see 18, odds are I would have given a different answer depending on the mood I was in. Part of me would think that I would make one big enough stupid mistake to cost me my life. Another part of me used to think that somehow someway living in that apartment in East Boston with my father would all end badly. And then there was that big part that made me say to the world “FUCK YOU. I’m getting the fuck out of here and making it big one day because I’m smart as fuck.” Luckily I listened to that last part.
Last Patriots season my buddy and I were able to get two more tickets along with our own season tickets to bring our closest buds to the game with us. This was the first time the four of us had been together since my cousin’s wedding eleven years earlier. We were mainly a crew of 9 kids whose ages only varied by 4 years that saw each other in one form or another almost everyday during our teens and early twenties. My cousin and I were like brothers since birth but the other 7 Eastie kids were our crew. A bunch of punk kids with good hearts, big balls, bad mouths, shitty attitudes and shit ton of smarts both street & book would be the best way to describe us. We didn’t kill anyone like some of the other kids from Eastie but plenty of people wanted to kill each of us at some point. You best believe that. Over the years it was tough for all of us to stay in touch but the 4 of us always did somehow. That day was a reunion for the record books. Because we were grown men now. On the ride down to Gillette as we thumped OUR hip hop music and called each other by OUR nicknames, we reminisced about all the crazy shit we did together as kids and couldn’t stop wondering how we weren’t dead or locked up. We did talk about all the kids no longer with us who died since high school graduation. Between all our graduation classes we counted at least 40 kids who we knew that were now dead. It was sad. It was fucked up. But that was Eastie life and fortunately that was the only sad part that day. The rest of that day was full of straight fucking joy man. I remember everything about every Patriots game I have ever been to and I swear…I remember NOTHING about the game that day. All I remember is the laughing, reminiscing, fun, stories, drinks, jokes, Cuban cigars and craziness that the 4 of us shared that day. It was us again. One more time. Except we were older, wiser and happy to be alive.
The crazy Eastie kids had grown up. That day boys, cousins, brothers, husbands, dads, college graduates, world travelers, NFL players, Hollywood writers, corporate America businessmen, homeowners, success stories and all around good grown men got together and had a blast. WE became everything everyone expected us not to become. My buddy put it best on the walk over to the stadium that day. He said “My face hurts from smiling so much.” He was right. All our faces hurt from smiling so much that day. And you can bet your ass the Eastie kids in us smiled too.
Until next time. Always take it there.