Super Pats fan from Nashua ready for Sunday's showdownBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
February 03. 2017 12:52AM
NASHUA — For some, Sunday’s Super Bowl represents the ultimate sports competition, but for local resident Randy Pierce, the big game is all about overcoming hardships and celebrating his passion — the New England Patriots.
“It is going to be a great match-up of teams that are both in the right mindset,” Pierce said of the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. “I expect this could be a really great battle.”
Pierce, who was named the Patriots Fan of the Year in 2001, is no stranger to battles. Pierce is blind. He said his impairment has taught him not only to persevere, but to motivate others to do the same despite disabilities or struggles. This year, Bud Light named him the Patriots’ “Super Fan.”
“I still have bad days too, just like anybody,” he said while sitting in his “fan cave,” which includes Pats paraphernalia such as signed jerseys, framed photographs and two replica Super Bowl rings from 2001 and 2003.
Pierce said when the Patriots named him Fan of the Year in 2001 — the year after he lost his sight — it opened doors that led him to opportunities such as a personal friendship with Tedy Bruschi, two trips to the Super Bowl and having the chance to meet many Patriots players, including Tom Brady.
He has been a fan of football and the Patriots since the age of 10, and acknowledged that once he lost his vision it was incredibly frustrating to follow the play-by-play.
Pierce attended the games at Foxborough for years, but now opts to listen to the Pats play in the comfort of his own football sanctuary on East Glenwood Street.
He listens to the radio broadcast of the game in one ear, while his wife and friends provide him with other details that help him follow the action.
Just like the Pats did not give up during the Deflategate controversy, nor after their loss in the AFC championship game last year, Pierce said, he couldn’t give up because of his struggle with mitochondrial disease, a cellular level disease that first attacked his optic nerve.
He said he eventually learned to embrace what life still has to offer — including his love for the Patriots, the outdoors and helping others.
“We all have challenges, but I think what is important is how we choose to live despite those obstacles,” said Pierce.
He credits his wife, Tracy, and guide dog, Autumn, and others with helping him overcome daily challenges.
Pierce founded 2020 Vision Quest, an organization designed to inspire and empower people to reach their peak potential.
He has hiked all 48 of the 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, ran in the Boston Marathon more than once and works with the New Hampshire Association for the Blind.
Pierce also visits schools throughout the region sharing a message of motivation.
As the Patriots embark on their ninth trip to the Super Bowl, Pierce says they have been so successful because of their determination, drive and teamwork.
“It is about work ethic. Together, everyone achieves more,” he said. “This group of football players has learned more because of their philosophy that they are all willing to sacrifice in order to make the team better.”