Loyalty

Loyalty is rare. I believe I have the loyalty character. Here is my take on being loyal to sports teams.

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“I got, I got, I got, I got Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA” said Kendrick Lamar. Now, I know the first thing you’ll ask me, why royalty, that’s just part of the lyrics, so it’s in there. The loyalty part is what I’m here to talk about in this blog.


People have been asking how I keep watching the Giants and how do I keep going to games. I’m a loyal fan of my teams. That’s 100% what it is. Growing up as a Mets, Islanders, Knicks and Giants fan, I have learned a lot about loyalty.

Let’s start with hockey. My two earliest memories of the Isles is the raising of the 1993 Patrick playoff banner 27banner_slapshot-articleInline

and being swept by the Rangers in the 1994 first round playoffs. From that point on, it was ALL downhill for the organization. The 94-95 season, introduced changes such as Pierre Turgeon being traded, along with a bunch of other core players. GM Don Maloney would go on to hire Mike Milbury as the head coach for the 1995-1996. Embed from Getty Images  They also decided to it was time to revamp the look of the franchise with a jersey change. This of course would be the start of the “fishsticks” mocking.

IMG_0485 Not only was the team being mocked, the play of the team didn’t help going 22-50-10 that season. Did I stop going to games? Of course not, the 95-96 season, is the first season I recall my dad getting a ticket plan to games and we would go to every game we had tickets too. We wouldn’t stop getting ticket plans during the Spano time frame, check out ESPN’s 30 for 30 Big Shot if you want more information about that time. From the 1994-2001 season, the team was 157-307-64-4 (over time loses came into play for the 1999-2000 season). My dad and I never gave up, we kept going, we kept renewing for tickets and it would have finally paid off for the 2001-2002 season where they would go 42-28-8-4 and make the playoffs for the first time since April 1994. Ownership would finally find a buyer in Charles Wang,  who wanted to keep the team on Long Island and get a new Coliseum. Despite not getting out of the first round for 3 years, we still go tickets and went to games as often as we could. During this time, I never once decided to stop rooting for the team. I stayed loyal and I fought my way through good and bad times. I’ve even gained a lot of friends, who would become a family from rooting for this team.

Another disaster of a team I root for is the New York Mets. I don’t really recall the first game that I went to so I’m going to recall a Sunday in summer of 97 vs the Florida Marlins. My dad and I randomly decided to go to the game and I got a ball from Rick Reed. We would eventually get that ball signed by Livan Hernandez. From that point on, I’ve been through the fun of 2000 going to the world series to the hardship of terrible baseball until 2005. I know, 2005 they didn’t make the playoffs, but that was the year they brought in Pedro and Beltran and started the transition for what would become “amazin” 2006. I survived 2 terrible collapses of 2007 and 2008. In 2008, it included being at the final game at Shea, which they made us stay later to close Shea. Through this entire time, I’d end up at about 6-10 games a year with my dad, grandpa, and cousin.  IMG_4019 Starting in 2007, my dad would start getting a Sunday ticket plan. We would continue to go to games and root for the team no matter what. From about 2009-2014, ny_nyp0618_thumb the team was not spending any money and wasn’t even close to playoff contention yet I kept going to games. I kept spending my money on the team. Loyalty ended up paying off in 2015 when the team made the playoffs and I was able to go to all the games. Nobody expected it but that is what makes it more enjoyable. The pure fact that I stuck with my team and didn’t give up on them, made the excitement of 2015 that much better.

The last team that I follow very closely I want to talk about is the New York Football Giants. With high expectations for the 2017 season, the Giants decided to really test people’s loyalty toward them. The first game I remember going to was October 31, 1993 vs the New York Jets. Ever since then, I have tried not to miss home games. Starting December 29th, 2007 all the way to December 31st, 2017, IMG_6867 I didn’t miss a home game. That’s 10 years and 74 games in a row I have been too. I’ve seen the best of them in 08 and I’ve seen the worse of the team in 2017.  The team has really tested my limits with the loyalty factor this season. For the second time in 4 years, the Giants would start the season at least 0-5. And it’s not like they were losing in the final minutes, they were flat out losing the games. Not only losing games, they would lose games in the most laughable fashion. Yes, I know two years ago, they would lose games on final drives like it was their job, but this season was different. They’d lose games early and by a lot to teams that they on paper were a lot more talented too. The final game of the 2017 season was easily the coldest I’ve ever been at game. New Year’s Eve day, 13 degrees outside, felt like -5 degrees, a 2-win season, guess where I was, in section 203A, row 2, seat 8! Just like I’ve been every game since MetLife stadium has opened. 2017 may not have been one of the worst season in team history, but I had one hell of a time! Here are some of the photos from this season;

Another team I root for but don’t get to a lot of games for are the Knicks. Being that I was born in Brooklyn, some people thought i’d start rooting for the Nets when they moved. I didn’t stop rooting for the Knicks, just because i’m not a huge basketball fan, doesn’t mean I don’t watch or support the Knicks. I still try and get to a game or 2 a year.

My Friend Joey Love has written on my Facebook check ins at the past couple of Giants games “Loyalty cannot be taught”. It’s true, it can’t be taught. Anybody can explain loyalty like it is defined as per the Webster dictionary. Anybody can say they are loyal, but the people who believe it and can show it that are really loyal. Like the old saying, “actions are stronger than words”

 

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