Fiske feeling super with Patriots

2/17/2017 | Chris Maza

Category: February

Patriots Lifestyle Editor and former MetroWest Reminder Assistant Editor Angelique Fiske enjoys the team’s “rolling rally” through Boston.
Reminder Publications submitted photo

As she stood atop a Duck Boat, overlooking the hundreds of thousands – maybe a million – people who came out to welcome the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Angelique Fiske got lost in the moment.

Standing among hero wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, she couldn’t quite fathom where the year had taken her.

“I don’t have words to describe it,” Fiske, a Ludlow native and former MetroWest Reminder assistant editor, said. “It was almost like an out of body experience. From the beginning of this season I never could have envisioned anything like this.”

Fiske joined the Patriots organization as the team’s lifestyle editor, charged with giving fans a look into the lives and off-field activities of the team and its players, in early March 2016. It was just weeks after the team’s hopes for that season’s Super Bowl were abruptly crashed by Von Miller and the rest of the Denver Broncos defense and just as the offseason was getting into full swing.

As a lifelong Patriots fan, it was a dream opportunity.

“I got to do so many cool and interesting things,” she said, offering a piece on All-Pro special teams ace and team captain Matthew Slater as an example. “That was one of the cooler stories I was able to do because we got to talk about his beliefs, his role in the locker room and really the kind of guy he is, which was such an awesome opportunity because he’s such a cool guy and all-around nice guy.”

Before she knew it, the summer was gone and it was time to play football again. It was then, Fiske said, she was again reminded of how rare of an opportunity she had.

“I blinked and it was football season. So much of the summer was a blur,” she said. “One of the biggest ‘oh my God’ moments for me was opening day. It was one of those times where I looked around at where I was and thought, ‘It’s my job to be here.’ I had been to that stadium so many times as a fan, but to be there as a part of the team, it just blew my mind.”

It was a season with a multitude of storylines, the most prevalent being the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, his subsequent return and the team’s dominance through the regular season. After earning the top seed in the playoffs and home field advantage throughout, New England dispatched the Houston Texans to earn a spot in the AFC Championship game. In Foxborough, with Fiske writing from the control room, the Patriots conquered the Pittsburgh Steelers in a stunning rout, punching their ticket to Houston for Super Bowl LI and the whirlwind began.

“In the control room, I was sitting entirely with other Patriots employees and together as the game ended and the confetti was flying, we all really realized what had just happened,” she said. “There were plans for us to go to Houston already set because so much planning goes into it ahead of time, but anytime we were talking about Houston before that game, we were knocking on wood. But as soon as it happened, all of those plans kicked into high gear.”

Fiske flew into Houston with the team a week before the game and immediately helped set up a makeshift office in the hotel.

“We hadn’t even checked in yet,” she recalled. “We just hit the ground running.”

Monday night, she fulfilled a dream when she attended Super Bowl Opening Night, the first and biggest media day of the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

“It was unbelievable,” she said. “Being part of that media day has been on my bucket list since I was 15. It was overwhelming with so much going on and tons of fun.”

The rest of the week was a blur of writing, press conferences, running around and new and even odd experiences, from meeting Kel Mitchell dressed as his character  Ed from the old Nickelodeon show “Good Burger” to going to do a story on Joey McIntyre of boy band New Kids on the Block fame dressed as a “patriot” at the NFL Fan Experience only to have the interview interrupted by 1984 Olympic Gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who wanted a photo with him.

“You can plan a lot, but those kinds of things just pop up and you just have to go with them,” Fiske laughed.

Super Bowl Sunday was a day off for Fiske, but it was hardly a day of rest. Having the opportunity to watch the game in the stands as a fan, she watched the Patriots stumble in the first half and trail 28-3 at halftime before storming back to tie the game – the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history – and win in overtime on James White’s third touchdown of the game in which he just squeaked the ball over the goal line.

“During the game we had been given these towels and for pretty much the entire fourth quarter I had it pulled over my head,” Fiske admitted. “Part of me thought that there was no way this team was going to lose like this. Not the team I had gotten to know. And growing up in the era of Tom Brady and David Ortiz, when they started coming back, you could feel the magic of that moment.”

But there was little time to celebrate. After all of the postgame festivities, Fiske got about one hour of sleep before she was back on a plane headed back to Boston that Monday.

On Tuesday, she climbed onto a Duck Boat and looking at the players and the scores of people lining the streets, she finally appreciated what had happened.

“Honestly, I still haven’t had a chance to watch the game again. I watched the postgame ceremony and couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I didn’t really absorb what I had seen until we were celebrating back in Boston. To be up there was weird because obviously I’m not why people were there, but I could see why this meant so much. I was standing with a guy like Malcolm Mitchell who this time last year was in college and now he’s a Super Bowl champion. There was a ton of emotion from everyone, even guys like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman who had been there before and how they were connecting with the crowd. You could really see and feel why this stuff matters.”

As life and schedules started to get back to normal the following day, Fiske was looking at an offseason full of things to write about. James White at Disney World to celebrate the victory. Players hitting the talk show circuit. The team dropping the ceremonial first puck at the Boston Bruins game. And that’s just the beginning.

But as she looks ahead to what promises to be an interesting offseason, she can’t help but look back on her first season with the team and smile.

“I don’t think if I will ever be able to accurately explain what this week has meant to me,” she said. “It was mind-blowing to be a part of it. It almost feels like I was living someone else’s life that week. It’s not something I’m ever going to take for granted.”?

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