This Column Is Ironic: Twenty Years of Suffering – The Life and Times of a Jets Fan

Opinion by Shane Savitsky
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:29 a.m.

This Column Is Ironic: Twenty Years of Suffering - The Life and Times of a Jets FanI’ve been in a long-term relationship for a while now. It hasn’t been going well recently. Honestly, it’s on the verge of abusive for me. I know that all relationships have their ups and downs, but this one is really getting tough. You see, just recently, I thought we were ready to take things to the next level. In fact, we had been at this point before — even just a year ago — and nothing came of it. A few days ago, those dreams were snatched away from me once again. I was heartbroken. I think I deserve a little better.

I’m talking of course about my lifelong relationship with the New York Jets. (Did you think I was talking about something else?) Two Sundays ago, the Jets came within a game of the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. Of course, they lost. What else should I expect? They’re the same old Jets. Let’s put it this way: the last time the Jets were in the Super Bowl was before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

My dynamic with this team gets a little obsessive. I wore the same clothes for every game during the Jets’ playoff run last year. During the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, I accidentally wore a different belt. I was convinced for about three days that I alone prevented the Jets from reaching the Super Bowl. Or this year: I changed my Gchat status to “GO JETS!” before their first playoff game and absolutely refused to alter it in any way until they lost. Seriously, it’s unhealthy. I was so stressed out about the playoff game against the mighty New England Patriots this year that I got sick and almost threw up. Keep in mind, this was after we had already won the game. This team might kill me — or at least continue to induce socially crippling attacks of OCD.

It doesn’t get any easier for me. My family has season tickets. Quite often during the frigid winter months, we willingly drive two hours from beautiful Scranton, Pennsylvania to the industrial wasteland of East Rutherford, New Jersey to cheer on the Jets. Of course, even with that level of fandom, those same old Jets still found a way to slap us in the face. For 15 years, our season tickets were in the very last row of the upper deck of Giants Stadium. This is obviously a first world problem. I realize that I’m complaining about the location of our NFL season tickets. But I’m a lifelong Jets fan, damn it, and I reserve the right to complain about anything and everything related to this team.

Even after all this, my love for the Jets somehow manages to supersede my love for Stanford. I own a Mark Sanchez jersey. You know, the former star U$C quarterback? Mark Sanchez was the poster child for the University of Spoiled Children — and by extension, for all evil in the world. (Just for the record: as a Stanford football fan, if there’s something I hate more than U$C, it’s Pete Carroll. And if there’s something I hate more than Pete Carroll, it’s Cal.) It was only a little more than two years ago that I was at the Stanford-U$C game in Stanford Stadium screaming, “Dirty Sanchez, you suck!” Yeah, he’s a Jet now. Moreover, I really like the guy. I think he might be one of my favorite players. (As I write those words, I almost feel like I’m punching this beautiful university in the face.)

But you know what? I think we Jets fans just really love to complain. When it comes down to it, I could really care less about any of this bitterness. Yes, the Jets continually break my heart, but they let me be a part of something bigger than myself. Only fans of long-suffering sports franchises can truly understand what I mean. In fact, I think a lot of lifelong Stanford football fans should see some parallels here. Being a Jets fan might cut roughly three years from my life expectancy, but I think the trade-off is worth it. Besides, it’s been too long. There’s no going back at this point. After all, this team was as much a part of my childhood as Barney. That’s saying something.

Any fellow lovers of Gang Green out there in Stanfordland? Be sure to shoot Shane an e-mail at [email protected]. And no foo

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