Joanna Harker first tried to interview Coach Bill Belicheck at Castle Belicheck in Foxborough, Massachusetts. He unceremoniously ejected her. She wasn’t one to take defeat easily.
Joanna made her struggle to learn about the Patriots public. Most New Englanders laughed it off. No one gets that close, they snickered.
People around Foxborough got used to seeing her around. They were polite to her face, but laughed behind her back.
Joanna was noticing the Patriots weren’t using the practice field. Of course, no one in town would say anything. Then one day, Joanna was near the practice field, when she saw some buses. At a distance, she watched the Patriots players and coaches pile in. Where are they going? She wondered.
She immediately got in her rental car and started it up. The caravan headed up Interstate 95 through Boston, where she fought to keep up and out on 128 to 95 and into New Hampshire, then Maine. Where are we going, this is insane?
The trip finally ended in a wooded clearing with dormitories in the distance. Joanna prepared for a long stay, calling the BBC office in New York to tell them where she was, according to GPS. “I need a camera crew up here, I found a secret Patriots practice place.”
Someone with a sense of humor said, “It’s not secret anymore, you found it and told us where it is.”
“Very funny, just get someone up here!”
“It’ll be a few hours.”
“So quit chatting and get here, I need to find a hotel. I will let you know when I get settled.”
Joanna, now knew where they were, but needed a place to stay. Many closed in the Winter. She finally found a place along 95, where most of the guests, were truckers heading to Canada. The staff didn’t ask why she was there, and she didn’t volunteer. As nightfall approached, her camera crew arrived. No one asked, why the hotel was full of British accents. This is Maine. People mind their business.
Joanna asked her camera crew how the trip was?
“No problem except for moose on the road.”
Early the following morning, the camera crew followed Joanna to the clearing.
The site horrified them as they stood in the woods on the edge. Moose heads nailed to trees.
With zoom lenses, the amazed cameramen whispered, “They’re practicing barefoot in the snow. Then they noticed the bloody footprints. Those who read about George Washington’s ragtag army at Valley Forge will get the irony of well paid athletes barefoot in the snow. All you can ask is why they would put up with it?
They suddenly heard a command. “Release the moose.”
Suddenly, angry male moose were charging at offensive and defensive linemen, who were using them as tackling dummies. Sometimes the moose won though. Antlers sometimes win with shoulder pads. You could hear Belichek across the field. “Hard training makes easy playing!”
“There’s a quote,” Joanna smirked.
“Only if we get out of here alive,: the cameraman muttered.
“Let’s go,” Joanna snapped.
They turned to leave, well several huge linemen surrounded their vehicles. “Coach wants to see you!” One of them snapped.
“Our ambassador will hear of this outrage! You cannot detain us! Out of our way!” Joanna with her shouting tried to sound confident, but the occasional squeak in her voice betrayed her fear.
“You can leave when Coach says you can, without your cameras and notebooks. Let’s go!! The linemen put burly hands on the camera crew, a smaller safety led Joanna, who tried to kick him.
“Don’t resist, or Gisele gets you.”
“Bring her on!”
“Might be your funeral.”
“No wonder you’re the most hated team. You’re all mad!”
“Might be true, but we win.”
They were led to a conference room. Coach Belichek walked in.
“Miss Harker, have you ever seen Goldfinger? Once an accident, twice a warning. I wont have you in my affairs again.
“Coach, why wont you or your players speak with the media? People are curious…”
“About our practices? Miss Harker, I invented Spygate, I won’t be caught at it.”
Joanna noticed a bookshelf. The books were not about football, but Ancient Rome.
Coach noticed her looking. ” You will leave your cameras and notes. I will autograph these and give them to you. You seem like an intelligent woman. You read these and you will understand our team and style. Enjoy your trip.
The BBC crew were escorted back to their vehicles.
To be continued.