Shortly after that field trip, I was asked on a double date to another game. It was a beautiful day. We sat in the picnic area in the outfield and I was ecstatic to be so close to Darryl Strawberry. (Who would have thought he'd make an appearance in my hometown bar on New Year's Eve later that year. Eventually, we found out why he did, but we were awestruck just the same. Even my new boyfriend, soon to be husband, a crazy Yankee fan, was a little excited.) The day of the double date began a whirlwind for me. The cameraman panned on me so much that the next day, at the beach, a strange, but adorable little boy came up to me and asked me for an autograph. I befriended the security guards and police officers and basically had free reign of seats. I personally met many Mets that year, as did my friends. It culminated with them winning the 1986 World Series that year. I listened to every game at work or in the car and of course watched them on television. One would be convinced I was a die-hard! But then, I died hard for the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and I was never the same.
January 1, 1987. Darryl Strawberry with my husband Frank and unknown females
Towards the end of that year, the day after my nineteenth birthday to be exact, I met and fell in love with my husband. He was the deejay in the local bar in my town, the same one, which two weeks later Mr. Strawberry ventured into. He drove me home that night and all we did was talk. We talked for hours and of course the majority of the conversation was about baseball. He was fascinated by how much I actually knew of the sport. I was so impressed at how much of a gentleman he was, that when I walked in my door at the wee hours of the morning, I informed my mother that I just met the man I was destined to marry.
Two and a half years later we were married and that is when the brain washing began. I do believe he used to whisper in my ear in my sleep, "Yankees are the best team in baseball, Mets suck, Yankees are the best team, Mets suck!" Oh, he'd mask his undertaking by buying me Met paraphernalia such as hats and Christmas ornaments (which I still have), but whatever happened it worked, for my fanaticism went straight to the Yankees.
As is mostly the norm in New York, if you are a Met fan, you are a Jet fan (like minded losers) and if you are a Yankee fan, you are a Giant fan (winners unite). But, that is not always the case, for I remained a crazy Jet fan, and my husband is still a Giant fan. Although, we will root for each other’s team to win, as long as they are not playing each other. We are not haters the way the Yankee fans hate the Mets when it comes to football. Which brings me to this past weekend of utter dismay.
New York Jet fans, like Met fans are used to disappointment. We haven't won or been in a Super Bowl since January 12, 1969: Super Bowl III! I don't remember it, I was only 13 months old, but I have heard the story told many times. Both are young teams in the grand scheme of things. But, the Jets in my mind have a magic that keeps the fans enthralled. And their colors are much nicer. I finally bought myself a new Jets jersey with Sanchez's number on it because my old Chrebet one turned an ill-colored blue. I had a renewed confidence in them since Rex Ryan took over gang green and stirred within them a fiery passion over these past two years. We BELIEVED they could do it and still believe for next year. They are frustrating to watch, especially when the Patriots trounced them and the subsequent loss to Miami was devastating. But, they revitalized, made it to the playoffs in a wild card spot, beat the favored Colts, and paid back those nasty Patriots to my tear filled eyes. I couldn't sleep Saturday night. I painted my nails green, wore my Jersey to church and prayed hard. Waiting for the AFC Championship game to start on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 6:30 at night was painful. I baked oatmeal cookies to kill the time. I fully felt they were going to win, until the first few drives showed how poorly our defense was reacting and then an overwhelming sadness took over. My boys even responded that I was taking this loss out on them. Maybe they were right. I reasoned that I needed that win because I needed a little good news in my life. But as Father Robert, priest at my church who presided over mass that day so notably pointed out during his homily, just because we wear the jersey, doesn't mean we are the player.
My mood picked up as the week went on and snowfall once again covered New York. Sportscasters predicted the Jets would win it next year. I finally am employed making a salary. Chad Ochocinco is changing his name back to Johnson. Quote of the day from Craig Carton during his show on WFAN, Boomer and Carton this morning (January 26, 2011): "Ochocinco is finally getting his Johnson back". I shook my bon-bon and laughed it off during my Zumba class last night. I will be rooting for Green Bay and those cheese heads to kill Pittsburgh during Super Bowl XLV. But most of all I am surrounded by my talented boys, whom I adore and get to watch dance everyday and I get to relive another football season with the Jets in about seven months!