Despite almost five decades of losing records, and being the punchline to almost every football joke, I firmly believe that the New York Jets will win another Super Bowl. I know this may seem absurd, overzealous, and even impossible to some, but I have wholeheartedly believed this ever since I was a seven-year-old girl.
I started religiously attending Jets games when I was in second grade, bribed by my Dad with a king-sized Snickers bar. Eventually, I began focusing on more than just the soda and candy in front of me. I looked forward to dressing in my kids' sized Curtis Martin jersey, and my attention was held by the game, which I viewed through the lenses of the binoculars my Dad always kept in the car. My Dad and I fell into a much anticipated Sunday routine throughout the Fall. Wake up, go to church, change quickly, eat lunch in the car, drive to the stadium. It was all about commitment and discipline. Rain, shine, or snow, not even the toughest conditions could deter us from experiencing the excitement we felt every time "Welcome to the Jungle" played as the Jets players took off through the tunnel. We even went as far as dressing in our skiing gear for one particularly cold and snowy game. My Dad always bought tickets in the cheap seats and moved behind the end-zone once the game started. Because, let's be honest, there were a lot of empty seats.
I will admit, it was hard to be a Jets fan, especially while sharing a city, stadium, and classroom with the New York Giants and their fans. Every Monday morning at school I was forced to justify my fidelity to a losing team. As the only Jets fan in my class, I was tempted to switch sides, to take the easy way out, and conform to fit in amongst the sea of blue that was my second-grade classroom. But I am no traitor. Dad was right. I could not call myself a true fan if I abandoned my team when times got tough. With my faith renewed, and my lesson learned, I confidently stood up for my team.
I realized what it means to be a true fan. Not only does it entail knowing the difference between a running back and a cornerback, but it also means passion, loyalty, and faith. It's about having the ability to shake off a brutal loss and still look forward to the next game with hope and enthusiasm. Jets fans embody all of the characteristics of a true fan. We are without a doubt, the most loyal fans in the NFL.