New England Patriots fans, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski is out for the season, but this is not a lost year for the New England Patriots.

Take a deep breath. Relax. I mean it! Breath! There you go...feel better? I hope so. I know it took me a minute to gather myself after Rob Gronkowski lay on the ground, howling in pain after taking a hit to the knee, tearing his ACL and MCL.

I thought to myself, "Gronk's done. Season over. Another year without a Super Bowl for the New England Patriots."

But we all know that's not true. How did I even let the thought cross my mind? I took a breath and moved on, just like the Patriots did.

Time and time again I have been surprised by what Boston sports teams are capable of. And yet, I have also been let down when expectations were sky high, back when "we were supposed to win."

I wrote an article on CelticsBlog.com this year, and I believe it's fitting considering the somber mood in Patriot Nation today. Many fans are saying that season is over because Gronkowski is out, but nothing is certain. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. How can any of us know?

Remember to Enjoy the Journey - CelticsBlog
Maybe...that's the key word.

I learned a valuable lesson about "maybe" on February 3, 2008. That was the night the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots were supposed to win the Super Bowl. They were destined to...but they weren't actually destined for it at all.

That night was a crash landing for me; I cried like I had never cried before in my entire life. Seriously, I was basically in a fetal position, sitting on the floor in never-ending tears. That team was the love of my life—my best friend—and there was nothing I loved more than watching them play.

The loss still hasn't settled in entirely. It still stings. It hurts as I write this now; I feel my eyes getting heavy.

But I've learned a valuable life lesson since then that has changed my life for the better. I've learned to relish the journey and not always dwell on the end result and I have applied this to my passion for Boston sports as well.

Of course, a 2010 Game 7 NBA Finals loss to the dreaded Los Angeles Lakers stung. And a 2012 Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals loss to the hated Miami Heat did too.

Of course it did.

But wasn't the journey leading to those moments extraordinary?

I believe this represents the 2013 season for the Patriots. With so many captains out for the season, and other players banged up for extended periods of time, it has felt like a roller coaster.

The Patriots are 10-3 and one game behind the Broncos for the top seed in the AFC. Despite all the adversity this team has gone through, they still would have a first round bye if the season ended today.

Just think about that for a moment. Isn't it unbelievable?

There have been some incredible "jump off the couch and scream like a maniac" moments this year, like Tom Brady's game winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins, or the miracle comebacks against the Broncos and Browns.

The point is, don't let the loss of Gronkowski deter your passion for this season. There is a long way to go, and you never really know what will happen.

Win or lose, enjoy the ride. Take pleasure in watching this incredible story write itself and unfold right in front of you. Savor every moment as the pages turn.

The advantage of being the passenger in a vehicle is having the freedom to look out the window and take in all the scenery that passes by.

Watch this New England Patriots team with that same perspective. Be sure to do that until this season ends, no matter how it does—love every moment of it.

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