I’m A Jets And Mets Fan: At What Point Am I Allowed To Jump Ship And Enjoy Basic Human Happiness?

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They say sports are simply stories of fathers and sons. The athletes playing it, the coaches managing it, the fans watching it — all found love in the specific game of theirs because of their relationship with their father.

Having a catch in the backyard. Watching the game on the couch. Your first stadium hot dog. Your first stadium beer. Driving to practice on an early Saturday morning. The quiet rides home after a tough loss. All of this is what makes man’s connection with sports so unique — it’s inherently personal.

Which is why I root for the New York Jets and New York Mets. My father is from Queens during the days when the two clubs shared Shea Stadium in Flushing. And back then, being a Mets and Jets fan was actually aces.

When my father was 10-years-old — which is, like, the formational years of developing a rooting interest in a team — both the Jets and Mets brought championships back to Queens. The year was 1969 and Joe Namath was the best quarterback in the sport. Shea Stadium was one of the newest ballparks in the league and the Mets were fresh off of their first NL Pennant and World Series title. If the Bronx was burning, then Flushing was on Fire.

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But as quickly as the (J/M)ets franchises had their comeuppance, their moment was over just as fast, as the Mets receded back into mediocrity until the late 1980s, while the Jets would begin a decades-long run of misfortune that can only be characterized as comically cursed. Perhaps more so than their geographical origins, that’s what the Jets and the Mets share most: their innate ability to fail in the most embarrassing of ways.

Last-second losses. Head coaching fuckery. Managerial meltdowns. Ownership nightmares. Bad, piss poor, no-good contracts. Boneheaded decision-making. Seemingly unlike any other team in their respective sports, not only do the Mets and Jets lose more often than they don’t, but when they do, it is in an absolute blaze of comedic glory.

Oddly enough, the misfortunes of my favorite American sports franchises reminders me of the moment when Thanos is introduced for the first time in Avengers: Infinity War, as warns his beaten down victims (hint hint: that’s me in this metaphor) about the inevitability of destiny:

“I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail nonetheless,” Thanos says.

“It’s frightening, turns the legs to jelly. I ask you to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now it’s here. Or should I say, I am.”

And that, ultimately, is what it feels like to root for these teams — I’m acutely aware of how this endlessly recurring nightmare concludes. Over and over and over again.

I’ve been alive for over a quarter of a century now (which is a fucking bummer when you hear it out loud,  which is more than enough time to accrue enough emotional data (and scarring) to understand that it’s more likely than not that this is always how things will be as a Jets and Mets fan. It’s how thing were, it’s how things are, and it’s how things will be.

Had Bill Buckner (in all seriousness, though, rest in peace) not shit his jockstrap in Game 6 back in the ’86, the Jets and Mets would have two championships between them, both of which happened before my father was even a teenager.

But you know what the difference between me and my father is? He was at Game 6. He was there to watch Shea erupt into unbridled madness. He was alive for the championships and for the parades that followed. He has heart-pounding memories to relive and to use as fuel to forge forward no matter how dark matters become. What do I have? Mythlogized stories of the past and almost three decades of heartbreak.

And yet, that’s why I’ll never jump ship, no matter how often I joke about it and secretly, sometimes seriously (especially in the heat of the moment) wish that I could. After all, sports are simply stories of fathers and sons, and luckily for me and mine… we’re Liverpool fans — Champions of Europe! — and I get enough fandom joy out of that. For now.


Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email eric@brobible.com

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Eric Italiano is a NYC-based writer who spearheads BroBible's Pop Culture and Entertainment content. He covers topics such as Movies, TV, and Video Games, while interviewing actors, directors, and writers.