Hey guys, so for my English class I had to write a five-minute speech, and I chose to write it about being a Jets fan. Bear in mind that I live in Boston, and go to school with the grandson of Bob Kraft, so everyone is a Pats fan and I hadn't been to a game in 8 years until this past Thanksgiving (i know, tough one to go to). I would love to hear what you all think.
A Madness Most Discreet
She was my first – the first girl I truly, deeply cared for. Though merely a five-year-old kindergartener, I was head over heels in a love like no other I have ever experienced, nor ever will experience. We would spend hours, days, and weekends together. Our love blossomed like roses newly sprung in June, an affair between star-crossed lovers surpassing that of even Romeo and Juliet. However, my affection has, at this point, grown to the point where it is a mental illness of sorts: the two of us are inseparable. Under the table at lunchtime, Thursday nights after I come home from school, and even sometimes on the toilet, we are always together. As you can see, this is no ordinary love, because she is no ordinary woman, and, in many regards, I am no ordinary man. In fact, she is not an individual woman but a band of brothers, a group of fifty-three grown men who call themselves "Gang Green" - the New York Jets.
Being a die hard Jets’ fan comes with its highs and its lows, though mostly lows. One of these "lows" in particular really resonates with me, and I need to take you back a mere three months to last Thanksgiving: November 22nd, 2012, 8 PM Eastern. Jets-Patriots, primetime, showtime. As we sped along I-95, the Colossus of East Rutherford arose out of the distance like a star in the night sky. At first a dim shade against the dying light, little more than a figment of my imagination, the stadium grew until I could finally read the big bold emblem on the steel façade, which read "MET-LIFE" in big, green letters. And, as my uncle, father, cousin, and I emerged from my uncle’s sleek, shiny, silver 2009 Acura TL, I perceived the object of my love, the billion-dollar baby, for the first time ever. We completed the Hajj up three sets of escalators to section 339, row 17, seats 20-23, and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, I felt at home. It was surreal. These were my people, and just like the boys in green, we, too, were a band of brothers. Every time the "J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" chant arose from the crowd, I couldn’t help but to crack a grin as wide as the Mississippi, because I knew that I belonged.
Unfortunately, after the early moments of sheer ecstasy – the singing of the national anthem; soaking in the bright white lights, shining like a million stars in a ring around the hallowed temple; the sack of notorious "Pretty Boy" Tom Brady on the first play of the game – it was evident that tonight would be one of the "lows" as a Jets fan. I had barely sat down with my luscious, 9-inch Hebrew National hot dog covered in deep red ketchup and zesty mustard, and with my cup of Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate, when Tom Brady had engineered two scoring drives and a 14-0 Patriots lead, and some drunkard had spilled his 16-oz. cup of Budweiser on my back. But little did I know that one of the most iconic moments in Jets’ history was about to occur; a fourteen-time Sports-Center "Worst of the Worst" champion, and the most shameful event I have ever personally witnessed. I cringe just thinking about it.
Jets’ Quarterback Mark Sanchez takes the snap from Center Nick Mangold, and turns to his right to hand the ball off to Running Back Shonn Greene. But much to Sanchez’s surprise, his Running Back is nowhere to be found! Now Mark, panicking like a young child who sees a monster in the closet, frantically tries to turn his asinine abomination into something quasi-productive. As venerable President John F. Kennedy stated when analogizing football to politics, "If you see daylight, go through the hole." Unfortunately, Mr. Sanchez, taking Kennedy’s words rather literally, finds the rear end of his Guard, Brandon Moore, instead of a running lane. The ball pops out of Sanchez’s hands, Patriots’ Cornerback Stephen Gregory returns it for a 32-yard touchdown, and, in a New York minute, the Pats turn a once-contested game into the Thanksgiving Day Massacre. Observing the lifeless corpse of their beloved, the once-rowdy fans stood in shocked silence, as the team proceeded to lose 49-19.
Great. I just told you one of the most painful moments in my team’s history. I could have told you about some of the more positive Jets’ stories – the victory over the Patriots in the 2010 AFC divisional round, the back-to-back AFC championship appearances, the one Super Bowl title – but I chose this farce instead because, comedy aside, it teaches a far more valuable lesson. The most important part of being truly passionate for someone, or something, is to be there for them in the lowest moments of despair. It’s easy to be a fan when your team is winning the Super Bowl, and it’s easy to be a fan when everyone around you conforms to the same beliefs. But to be a fan when your team is just dreadful, when you receive twenty texts saying "JETS SUCK" in a span of five minutes, when everyone around you, including your father, thinks you’re an idiot - it requires loyalty, devotion, and affection. And ultimately, that’s what the Jets are to me. It’s about finding an identity; it’s about finding a community of brothers to stay with through thick and thin; and ultimately, it’s about finding someone, and something, you truly care about. Because my fandom of the Jets isn’t a football story; it’s a love story.