Monday, August 22, 2011

How A Football Fan Was Born...



I spent most of my life avoiding football. I thought it was boring and I had zero interest in watching the game or learning the rules. So it seems kind of unfair that I got to go to one of the greatest Monday Night Football games ever.

Let me start at the beginning...

I started dating my boyfriend, J, back in October of 2000. We'd known each other for a while, but we'd only been out on two dates when he stopped by my desk one day (we also worked together) to ask me to go with him to the NY Jets game that night. He was taking clients and the other co-worker who was supposed to go with him had backed out. The Jets were playing the Miami Dolphins...which was apparently a big deal, although I didn't know that at the time. The two teams have been rivals since sometime in the 70s.

My first thought was "Shit!"...because I had zero interest in going to a football game...but I was really into this guy and I didn't want to say no. Reluctantly, I agreed and after work, we headed out to the game.

Oh...did I mention that it was freezing outside and I was in no way prepared to go to a football game? I was wearing a skirt and heels and a really thin trench coat. I looked nice, but I wasn't prepared to be walking a lot or sitting outside for any long period of time. But I sucked it up and off we went.

After walking three miles from the parking lot to our seats, we sat through the most boring first half and by halftime the Jets were losing 23-7. I was freezing...and bored...and J and I were both ready to leave. But the clients wanted to stay...so I slapped the smile on my face and pretended to be having a great time.

By the end of the third quarter, the Jets were losing 30-7 and half the stadium had cleared out. I thought for sure we'd leave then...I mean, there was no way for the Jets to come back...the game was over. But the clients still wanted to stay. So we stayed.

Apparently, some of the Miami players were talking smack on the sidelines and maybe the Jets heard them or something...because they started the fourth quarter like a whole new team. They scored a field goal and two touchdowns and tied the score with 4 minutes left in the game. And even though I had no clue what was going on...I knew this was pretty big...and pretty exciting. All of a sudden, I wasn't that cold anymore and my feet didn't hurt and I was up and yelling and cheering with everyone else.

The Dolphins scored again and it looked like it was pretty much over for the Jets. Then...with 42 seconds left, the Jets scored another touchdown and took the game into overtime.

I think at that point it was about midnight. I had work in the morning and I still had to go to J's to get my car and then drive home. I was still freezing and still in my high heels...but there was no way you were going to get me out of that stadium.

The Jets went on to score a field goal to win the game 40-37. It was the largest comeback from a fourth quarter deficit in NFL history and the game is now known as The Monday Night Miracle. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) The other co-worker who had bailed on the game was a huge Jets fan and still kicks himself in the ass to this day because he game me his ticket.

When we left the stadium that night I finally knew that football could be interesting and I started watching games with J. It took a few years until I could really say that I was a fan...but my fondness for football definitely started that night at the Jets game.

Oh...by the way...we aren't Jets fans. Our hearts belong to the Giants...even though they are pretty terrible.

5 comments:

  1. That's so incredible you were able to witness THAT GAME as your first! I don't know much about football, but going to live sporting events is always a great time. Very cool (and I'm sure J's coworker still kicks himself! HA!)

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  2. Everyone should have that kind of experience for their first game...they'd all be fans for life! :)

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  3. J should be thankful that the Jets did make that big comeback, because if you had stayed til the bitter end to watch them bomb, there might have been no getting you back into a football stadium (even in comfy shoes!).
    There's nothing wrong with cheering for a sucky team...not that I would know anything about that.

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  4. Jealous! Not because I'm a fan of either team, but because that's an incredible experience! What a way to be introduced to football.

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  5. I've never been to an NFL game, but I'm sure I would love it.

    And I know what you mean about the Giants. I'm a 49ers fan. Yeah...

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