The NY Jets and How I Won it All

Last year the New York Jets were one win away from going to the Super Bowl and on the eve of that game I broke down and cried. Three months earlier my father had died unexpectedly, I took it very hard but I didn’t cry. I was deeply saddened and angry through the travel, the wake, the funeral and the handling of my father’s estate but I could not bring myself to shed a tear even though I wanted to.

When I got home I tried to return back to my normal life but I felt like there was a tremendous hole in the middle of me that couldn’t be filled. The closest I felt to normal came on the Sundays the Jets played. My father was a Jets fan, which means I am a Jets fan. My father and I had our difficulties and were often at odds with one another but when we had cause to not speak to each other we still had the Jets to talk about. Eventually football talk would give way to other discussions. When I was a child we sat over chocolate milk, cookies and the preview of the weekend’s game in the paper. We talked about match ups and betting and then finally the reasons my parents divorced. Years later, over drinks we talked about games and made peace with one another over slights both real and imagined. The day after I got married in Las Vegas, my father and I stood in the Sports Book discussing possible wagers  on the upcoming Jets season and he told me he thought that my new bride and her family, who he had met 48 hours earlier were: “The Goods” and that I did pretty well for myself.

The last time my father and I spoke was after a Jets game, in September 2009, a few weeks before he died. After he was gone I’d watch the games on Sundays and everything would feel normal until I’d reach for my phone to call someone who wasn’t there. Over the course of the rest of the season I attached a great significance to the Jets playoff hopes. Since the Jets were the last thing my father and I spoke about I felt like the season represented the last tangible connection I had to him and that connection would be severed when the season ended. When the Jets managed to get into the last playoff spot I felt like I had been granted one more week to feel connected to my father. After they pulled off two straight upset wins I began to think that maybe something magical was going on and maybe the connection I had created in my head would last all the way through the Super Bowl. However, the night before the AFC Championship game against the heavily favored Colts I knew that the odds were against the Jets and I would likely have to let go sooner or later, so I cried. I cried for the loss of my father and I cried over the memories of Sunday afternoons spent watching football with him. Then, when I had gotten it all out, I got ready to watch the game. When the Jets lost I was sad but I was okay, I had gotten everything I needed from the season including some closure.

This Sunday, the Jets are once again underdogs who are one game away from going to the Super Bowl and I have some perspective. I want the Jets to win it all but as time goes on I’ve realized that my love of the Jets has always been and always will be a stand in for the love I have for my father. Sometimes my father and I needed the Jets to help us communicate but I never doubted that he loved me and I’m sure he always knew I felt the same. No matter what happens this weekend, nothing can take that away. No matter what happens on Sunday, I have won.

That said: J-E-T-S! JETS!, JETS!, JETS!

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13 Comments

Filed under Betheboy Dad Stories, Family

13 responses to “The NY Jets and How I Won it All

  1. This is beautiful, and you’ve come a long way, baby. (Go Jets!)

  2. Okay, this is much more than just football.
    And very beautiful.

  3. I think it was around last year, when you tweeted about your Dad and the Jets, that I fell in love with your writing, and soon after that, with you, your wife Slackmistress, and your pooch, Daisy J. Dog.

    Somewhere in a parallel universe, there is a hit TV show called “Three Tweet Stories”, and the people who created “Bleep My Dad Says” are in prison for crimes against humanity.

    Go Jets go.

  4. Steve

    I can pull for the Jets this week while at the same time pulling for the Packers, so huzzah for the Favre-survivors.

    Great piece.

  5. What a wonderful, beautifully written post. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

  6. i remember screaming my little heart out for you and your jets last year. in the back of my head all this weekend (when I wasnt swearing at the seahawks like it would help) i wanted you guys to win.

    i understand the sports thing and dads. i spend a lot of time talking to my dad about two things: sports and radio. the seahawks are a thing for my dad and i. i understand. go jets~

  7. karen Erb

    Oh my Sammy. We put a Jets sign on his grave

  8. What a beautiful post. You’re a credit to all good and decent people. You’re father would be very proud of you today.

  9. ElwoodJBlues

    I will be rooting for the JETS this weekend. For you, for your Dad, and for my intense hatred of all things Pittsburgh.

    This was fantastic to read. Thanks.

  10. *tears.*
    This is beautiful. I’m no sports fan, but I have a soft spot for the Yankees because my dad loves the Yankees and he took me to my first major league game against the Red Sox on the Fourth of July in 2003 and your blog post makes me want to call him to hear his voice because I can. I’m so sorry you can’t and I’m so sorry the Jets lost last weekend but I’m so happy you won with such a great connection to your dad.

  11. Anil K

    What a wonderful story. I’m lucky to still have my dad but I know that could change any day. Some of my fondest memories include Jets games, Mets games, etc.

  12. I’m sorry the Jets broke our hearts again.

    My Husband is a lifelong Jets fan. He cries every year during the playoffs.

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