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Day 162: Missing Out

January 16, 2011

The last month has been pretty eventful and I hate writing these “reasons why I got lazy” posts, but the last 30 days involved a full house move, hectic holidays, a return to substituting, the final tests and classes leading to the completion of my teaching credential and the continued preparations for our daughter, Hollie.

It’s been busy enough that sports have taken a back seat all together.  In the past, I would have postponed any and all activities that interfered with a Northeastern men’s hockey broadcast.  Nowadays, I have to remind myself to check the score on my cell phone, just so I don’t fall out of touch.  And that’s for my FAVORITE team.  Facebook and Twitter have been helpful because of friends on site who are able to post details about the games.

There are sports fans everywhere in this country, but after my heavy travelling days ended I realized that the fan culture in the Northeast is far and above any other region in the U.S.  Local sports media is strong, the population is better informed, telecasts are part of a routine.  Some places are pretty intense about a team, but rarely invest enough passion over multiple sports.  Part of the reason I decided to go to school in Boston was to experience what I thought was an even more intense atmosphere than the New York area in which I was raised.  To be honest, the most disappointing thing about moving to California has been apathy: people are either out of touch with anything outside of ESPN highlights or they’re football fans and that’s it.  I’m still at my current level of emotional investment because of the people I grew up with and stay in contact with.

That’s why today’s going to be rough: Jets vs. Patriots.  Today’s game is the first time I really feel like I’m missing out on sharing an event with friends.  It means that Facebook is off-limits today and probably tomorrow as well.  It means I couldn’t actually hear the supposedly entertaining Wes Walker press conference.  The New York/Boston dynamic is in play and Jets fans have always carried that passionate desperation that for so long defined the New England region through the Red Sox.  The divisional dynamic elevates the game above a standard Pats/Giants showdown.

You would figure it’d be a bit looser; my experiences have led me to believe that Most Jets fans are also Mets fans, while Giants fans lean towards the Yankees due to their habitual need to have their allegiance validated by championships.  Boston fans don’t care; both groups of New York football fans are geographically indistinguishable.

My most vivid Jets/Patriots memory was the infamous Joe Namath/Suzy Kolber game.  I was preparing to produce the post-game show on WEEI with Pete Sheppard when we noticed something was off about Namath.  I thought he was just a cold man in his 70s.  Pete thought he was exhibiting the early signs of Parkinson’s disease.

“…!!!  He’s cocked!”  We scrambled to get the audio cut and instantly, a meme was born.

The hardest part has been missing out on what sounds like another awesome Patriots run.  Their renaissance in 2001-02 coincided with my entry into pro sports with WEEI, so I’ve always felt a connection stronger than I ever had with my hometown pro football squads.  I avoided all of the college bowls successfully and don’t feel like I’m worse off for it.

I have to miss Pats/Jets today, and it’s the first time during the Year Without Football that it feels like I’m turning my back on the people that helped and continued to foster my passion for the games.

DR

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