Originally posted on Facebook January 2013. Updated and edited February 2019
As most of my family and friends know, despite growing up in Central New York, I am a New England Patriots fan. It didn’t start with the arrival of Tom Brady and Super Bowl victories, but in 1978 with Grogan, Cunningham, Nelson, Adams, Hannah, Francis, Morgan, and Haynes. Then Eason, Collins, and Tippett to Bledsoe, Martin and McGinest.
This was for a few reasons. First, my father wasn’t a huge football fan. Despite growing up in New York City and going to the greatest game ever played (’58 Championship), he was a much bigger baseball fan. Secondly, I missed the legends of the day in their prime; Namath with the Jets, OJ with the Bills and well the Giants with Joe Pizarcik (‘nuff said). The only pro team I followed would’ve been the Redskins because they drafted Art Monk from Syracuse University.
The other reason was Dennis Farrell. Dennis showed up at Genesee Hills in the middle of 2nd grade and left just before 4th. We were great friends along with Chris Polichemi. Rode around our bikes like we were CHiPs, had plenty of sleepovers when that was a cool thing to do, invented a baseball game in my backyard where you had to circle all of the bases to score and Cub Scouts. We probably got into our share of trouble, with me leading the way, but Dennis right by my side. I still remember Dennis lived in between Tim Summers and Dan Blaisdell on Radcliff Road.
(I’m not in this picture, but Dennis is the one smack dab in the middle with the mischievous grin)
Somewhere along the way he asked me to root for the Patriots with him since no one else would. He moved to Philly right before 4th grade and we stayed in touch for a few years, but eventually I lost contact. With all of the social media now available; Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, I figured one day I would find him. Unfortunately, I did, but it was two years too late.
Dennis lived on a island off the coast of Portland, ME and became mysteriously sick. By the time they reached the mainland, it was too late with Dennis passing away in May 2011. Shortly after I read the obituary, I reached out and spoke with his widow Amy and mother for about 20 minutes apiece. It was a pleasure talking with them and they both mentioned how much Dennis would’ve been thrilled to hear about my career as a broadcasting baseball games. I can’t imagine how he’d feel knowing that’ve I had Patriots Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk on my show numerous times and have even enjoyed a beverage or two with the Patriots/LSU/Carencro legend.
So while the rest of you are cursing out Brady and the Pats on Sunday (looking for their sixth Super Bowl title, by the way), I’ll be remembering my childhood friend Dennis, who caused me plenty of pain between 1978-2000, but I think the last 19 years more than made up for it. Wish I found you sooner buddy. GEAUX PATS!