“Never thought I’d fall for a Pats fan.”
I wrote those words—followed by an eye roll emoji—as a caption for the first photo my boyfriend Chris and I took together as a couple three years ago. A black and white filter, we were sitting on my old beige couch with the fake leather armrests—him in an oversized Brady jersey while I wore Carlos Hyde. Ironically, both players do not play for our football teams anymore.
Luckily for Chris and I, we’re still on the same dream team.
Before I met my person, I was a disaster. Pretty much the appetizer version of 2020 in human form. A spicy Italian meatball gone sour.
I wasn’t ready to fall in love again. My last relationship damn near killed me. And at the time, I listened to enough Beyonce to realize I definitely didn’t need a man. Love had chewed me up and spat me onto a busy highway. Like Frogger, I was scrambling to find a safe place. Most nights, my dog Ruxin was exactly that.
But something was missing. Even on my Miss Independent vibe, I longed to be someone’s everything.
To me, football was a pretty, pretty good filler, though.
With Super Bowl 51 just around the corner, I wore my NaVorro Bowman jersey all around the town of Port Moody. The weekend before the big game, my scrambling self ended up at Brew Street, the local spot for beer and football Sundays.
Now, the sad reality about living in Canada is that the NFL doesn’t hit the same here. Most people are CFL or bust—lol—and that’s cool, but give me more downs and a smaller field all day every day, baby!
With Bowman proudly across my back, I was one of only two peeps in the joint with an NFL jersey on. At first I thought I was the lone football lover. However, thanks to years of Where’s Waldo, I spotted a Tom Brady at the bar.
I had a few tequila shots (sans lime) and was feeling myself, Beyonce-style. Sunglasses on, I bounced up to the counter to order another drink. And of course, Brady looked over at me in my Bowman jersey. He had the sweetest brown eyes and warmest soul. I sat down next to him and we talked for the rest of the evening. Shortly after last call, Chris told me he was leaving on a jet plane in two days to go backpacking for six months. Ah fudge, I thought.
The good ones are always taken by wanderlust.
My heart clearly wasn’t ready to fall back in love. Not yet, at least. We went our separate ways and stayed in touch by tossing each other a like on Instagram every so often. Honestly though, I never thought I’d see Tom Brady again.
Six months later, Chris walked into the bar I was managing and I nearly fainted. It’s as if life wrapped him up in a shiny gold ribbon and left him at my doorstep after playing Nicky Nicky Nine Doors on me for the past five years. I tried my best to lock up my heart and throw away the key, but there was something about Captain America.
Those who know, know.
Anyway, we made it all cute and official on October 8th. And ever since, October was my favourite month. Well, it used to be.
Last Friday, my person lost his father to cancer.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound of Chris’ voice when he called me after it happened. Sheer pain. I felt the little boy inside of him fall apart over the phone. I wanted more than anything to rush to the hospital to hold him and tell him it’s going to be okay. COVID had other plans for that, though. So I listened. I cried with him. And I promised him we’ll get through this. We always do, somehow.
His father, Hank, was a noble man with a selfless heart. He was one tough cookie, don’t get me wrong. But underneath that hard shell was an endless provider with an undeniable love for his family, especially his boys.
Fortunately for me, Chris got those beautiful qualities, too. And I’m forever grateful to his dad for shaping my person into the selfless man he is today because I wouldn’t be here without him. I can promise you that.
Just like the colourful leaves of autumn, this month has me falling onto the cold cracked concrete. Usually I put on my leopard print scarf and walk the streets with a warm glow. October’s very own lost girl just looking for her next smile.
A glimpse of that smile came through on Sunday when the 49ers pummeled the Patriots. I mean, how flippin’ good did that feel? Pretty great, baby.
The King of New England, Mr. James Garoppolo himself, made Bill Belichick do a double take. Like, “Damn, I let that handsome devil get away from me?” NE’s King walked off the field with some new bling and the Pats left Gillette Stadium with their biggest home game L since 2000. Oof.
Jimmy G threw for 277 yards and zero touchdowns. He completed 20 of 25 passes and even threw a couple bombs in there, too. Don’t forget the two INTs, but that’s so on brand for Garopps, so we’ll just let it slide.
By the way, there’s something about Jeff Wilson Jr. He ran for 112 yards with three touchdowns. Damn, Jefe!
Lastly, that D was Impressive with a capital I. Led by Freddie ‘Prince’ Warner, the 49ers defense slobbered all over the Patriots like my dog drooling over McDonald’s cheeseburgers. It’s a waterfall, I swear.
That waterfall drowned Super Cam Newton, forcing him to throw three interceptions and eventually find his place on the bench next to a ticking time bomb: Coach Belichick.
Garoppolo ain’t looking too bad these days, huh fam?
Warner picked off Newton and had us all screaming DPOY at our televisions for at least five minutes. And guess what? My boy, Manny Fresh (Emmanuel Moseley) recorded his first pick of the season and returned the ball 51 yards ahead of the half.
The 49ers defense looked ravishing and reminded me of the Nick Bosa days. My heart is happy that guys like backup nickel corner Jamar Taylor are making plays. Robert Saleh is finding his groove, folks. Better watch out.
To top it all off, Kyle Shanahan finally changed up the gloomy grey Shanahat and replaced it with a badass black and red trucker cap. His new motto is “Look good, play good” and it’s totally working.
Have you ever seen the movie Silver Linings Playbook? I threw it on one night because I love both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. What a treat. I cried a lot while watching that movie. Reminded me of my own insecurities and troubled mind. However, one quote stuck with me over the years:
“If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
Chris has always been my positive. Ever since he was Tom Brady at that bar, I’ve felt his smile within my heart and I hold onto it when I need a silver lining.
I wanted the 49ers to lose to the Patriots so maybe that game could’ve been his silver lining after enduring one of the saddest experiences life offers us in losing a parent. I prayed he’d get the W, because for once, I wanted to be Chris’ positive, too.
Our journey on this planet is never promised. We wake up each day staring down the unknown. Through it all, though, Chris has been my 49ers’ win. But even in our losses, there’s beauty in the way we come together in pain: We grow stronger. We get smarter. And we love harder. Because at the end of it all, we truly only have moments with each other.
Some moments, we argue on Twitter with the silly Seahawks fans; other moments we put our tech devices away and simply melt into real life interactions. And in the darker moments, we sometimes need a hand to shake the batteries in our flashlight.
I’m just happy that I found that hand.
Life has been a journey lately, to say the least. Last week I left Toronto after packing up our tiny 419 square foot condo in mere days (huge shout out to my dad for being my angel and flying out to help me). I didn’t have much closure. Just had to rush home to be near my person. It’s been a rough few weeks. Chris and I have basically been on the IR, but just like Shanahan’s new black and red hat, we’re getting our groove back.
This weekend, we move into our new condo in downtown Vancouver. I’ve always dreamt of living in the beautiful city I was born in. Plus, I feel like I’m back in high school as I type this from my parent’s basement.
Our new place has a bedroom and wine cooler, which is a silver lining in itself. We did have to sell our couch, so we’ll be watching football on a hardwood floor Sunday as the 49ers hopefully stuff the Seachickens like they did to Super Cam and the Patri-nots. Couch or no couch, we’re finally home for the first time in over a year.
How’s that for silver linings?
PS. I love you, Chris.