Singing the Patriots' praises
For one New England Patriots fan, getting her team to the Super Bowl isn't about training, talent, or tenacity: it involves a tune, a fight song to be specific, that she wrote back in the early 1970s and has faithfully sung at least once during every game since.
Gloria “GoGo” Guiduli of Camden lived in Norfolk, Mass., when the Patriots first began playing in Foxboro. The neighborhood of new homes where she and her young family settled was a long football pass from what was then Schaefer Stadium, (the precursor to Gillette) and several Patriots players were neighbors. Tight end Bob Windsor owned a tidy split level ranch down the street; around the corner lived kicker John Smith (famous for scoring the only points in the December 1982 “Snowplow Game,” in which a snowplow cleared the way for Smith to kick a field goal to beat the Miami Dolphins 3-0.) The Pats were part of the melody of daily life in the surrounding towns: Hall-of-Famer John Hannah cheered at high school basketball games, and everyone knew at least one lucky local who moonlighted as a cheerleader. It was the early days of Pats Nation, and Guiduli, a sports enthusiast, was in its epicenter.
In addition to rooting for her home team, the petite but spry fan had always loved to sing. As a girl she tromped in the mountains of her native Vermont, crooning Girl Scout ditties and church hymns; as a young mother she taught her kids everything from Broadway show tunes to Italian folksongs. Her blue-eyed Himalayan cat is named for Frank Sinatra, and her favorite board game is Encore. Her children and grandchildren all know that if they say anything that reminds her of a song, “GoGo” is sure to belt it out.
Given her twin passions — music and football — it was only natural that Guiduli would enter a contest to write the first ever Patriots fight song. Sponsored by Boston's WBZ Radio, the rules — and prize of a season ticket — were announced shortly after the opening of Schaefer Stadium in August 1971. Guiduli spent long hours writing rousing lyrics to a tune the station supplied, and was crushed when her entry did not win.
In some families, that defeat would have signaled the end of Guiduli's fight song. In an era before computers, her creation, no matter how good, should have been consigned to the Recycling Bin of history. But no. Like those early Pats teams that faced so many obstacles, her song survived, becoming stronger as the years went on.
For close to 50 years now, Gloria Guiduli's extended family and friends — including in-laws, cousins, grandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews — take a few moments to sing her tune come game day. It's a ritual, a lucky talisman, a way to pump up faithful Pats fans, with the words and music ringing out in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and even Italy.
Guiduli knows there are other Patriots songs and parodies on YouTube and elsewhere, and she enjoys listening to them, but none has been performed as faithfully — or for as long — as her rallying cry.
For a fan who loves to sing and loves her football, that's almost as sweet as the Patriots’ success.
The Patriots Fight Song, by Gloria Guiduli
On, on, you Patriots, you're a team that won't be beat! (Rah, rah, rah!)
Fight, fight, you Patriots, and your foes you will defeat! (Rah, rah, rah!)
As you march down the field, we will raise our banners high!
The Pats are on the march again, you know this team is gonna win,
So let's all stand and give a cheer, for the mighty Pats! (YAY!)
On, on, you Patriots, hooray for the red, white and blue!