My personal (relatively recent) story with the Jets
I have a rather confusing sports upbringing.
I grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, only 6 miles from the center of Philly.
Naturally, I joined my neighbors and friends and rooted for the Eagles and Phillies. I stood awestruck as a little boy as Wilbert Montgomery gave me his autograph. I watched with wide eyes as a team a few miles from my home won the World Series in 1980, jumping in unison with Tug McGraw. I walked with the crowds through Center City on the day of the Sixers championship parade.
But my mother's side of the family from MA would influence me deeply. Cousins, uncles and grandparents shared their tragic love for the Red Sox and also for the Patriots and Celtics and it penetrated my heart pretty deeply. How could it not? And once you're a kid, and you're rooting for the Red Sox, and you've been to Fenway, that's your team for life. Still is.
And the Pats became mine too. I remember the Monday after the Bears devoured them being a particularly cold and sad Monday.
But years later, after my Manhattan years led me away from all organized sports and into museums and bars, I found myself a married man in Westchester on a couch, with free Sundays and a man from my hometown, Glen Foley, at QB for the Jets. I always loved underdogs (see the Red Sox) and I couldn't help but root for a guy who grew up across town who I remember hearing about ever since Little League. This was my chance to have a team that was MINE. Not because of where I grew up, not because of a family's history, but because of the city that I adopted and loved and found myself in.
And that's what the Jets became. My team. I wear Jet green in my current home of California. I pay for DirecTV's Sunday Ticket. I yell and scream at the TV with my daughters.
So I've only been a fan since what is that, 1998? And it's been great, and it's been awful. I hope, fellow Jet fans, that this here neophyte can hang on. For nights like this test my intestinal fortitude, test my ability to hold out hope, for this ever-bungling, seemingly-cursed group of almosts, year after year.
A raise of the glass to you, who have endured longer than I have. Take it from a Red Sox fan - there's always next year.