The Rant Heard Round the World

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Bart Scott said it best immediately after the Jets defeated the Patriots last week: anybody can be beat!
Below is one of the best post-game rants I have ever heard or seen and the fact that it comes from a Jet defender makes me smile. “Play like a Jet” indeed. Thankfully, ESPN itself has put it up online which means that I can post it below for you and be confident that it won’t be removed for copyright infringement reasons in the future, always a good thing in a video related post. Without further ado, here is the clip:

j-e-t-s…jets, Jets, JETS!


And Then Comes the Burgh

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So far, so good this post season for my beloved American Football Jets. Over the last two weeks, the Jets picked up two wins against two very good teams, on the road both times. While the first win was a little savory, the second was oh so sweet. The Jets went into Foxboro and beat their archrival after a full week’s worth of serious trash talking – they actually backed up their strong words which is incredible in this age of bloviation. The team known as the Jets that I am watching today is quite different from the one I grew up watching and I very much like what I see.
Slowly but a surely a culture of success has taken over the team which is astonishing for someone who is always accustomed to waiting for the other shoe to drop when dealing with Gang Green. From the saying “Play like a Jet” to the sweeping arm motions that many of the players make after big plays, or when they run off the field after a win, to the fact that the team never seems to quit and that they somehow someway manage to make big plays when they are so desperately needed, it is evident that a new mindset has taken root which I still, almost two full seasons into watching this little plant grow, am having trouble grasping and accepting as the present reality.
That being said, I think Rex Ryan said it best when he sarcastically quipped in his post-game press conference, “Yeah, same old Jets. Going to the AFC Championship game two years in a row.” The part about the Patriots game that made me believe that these Jets are truly different is that they won powerfully and convincingly. They didn’t have to rely on trick plays, or to have gotten lucky at the right moment by say returning a fumble for a touchdown. No, they beat the Pats by beating them down with old fashion smash mouth football. They ran the ball all day long, they employed a punishing defense which while spotty during the year has turned it on the past month or so. Second year quarterback Mark “he’s stealthy good” Sanchez already has in his short career as many road playoff victories as anyone else who ever has played in the NFL and, it just keeps getting better, he has more road wins that Favre and Marino combined. He was better than two surefire first ballot Hall of Fame QBs two weeks in a row. Who are these guys?
I’m cautiously optimistic for this coming Sunday. It’s going to be a very tough game to win. I have experienced heartbreak in this title game twice before as they were up 10 points at the half in ’98 (when I watched the game in Simsbury, CT) and 11 points at the half in ’09 (when I watched the game in NYC) but lost both games. Now, I’m going for the Tri-state area trifecta by watching this game in NJ. Hopefully the third time is the charm. If its not though, hopefully this culture of winning will continue for a long, long time. I don’t want these Jets to become the late 80’s Browns, always close (The Drive! The Fumble!) but never going to the Super Bowl, or the early 90’s Bills, making and then losing 4 Super Bowls in a row. But, I guess there are worse things, like just being happy to even make the playoffs, like they were back in ’91 when Raul Alegre’s field goal as time expired tied the game and then his next field goal won the game for them. I said it last year that I hoped Ryan was building a foundation and this season it seems that he has done so. I’m looking forward to not only next week but many, many future weeks to come.



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I read a fantastic short story by Steven Millhauser called “Getting Closer” in the January 3, 2011 edition of the New Yorker today that really hit me hard. I wasn’t expecting this story to affect me at all, especially not with the way the first few paragraphs flowed, which is one of the reasons I’m writing about it. The other reason is because the protagonist of the story, a 9 year old boy, tells dictates a short, simple and devastatingly powerful idea that really resonated with me because I often feel the same way that this kid does in the story. Basically, the story is about how his family has decided to go to a river for a day’s worth of fun and while he is oh so excited to lay in a tube and float around, he can’t seem to get into the river because to get into the river and the tube would mean that the day is now ending, it is no longer beginning, and he wants the joy of the anticipation of getting in the tube to linger as long as possible.

Everything has led up to this moment. No, wrong, he isn’t there yet. The moment’s just ahead of him. This is the time before the waiting stops and he crosses over into what he’s been waiting for.

I really don’t want to ruin this story – as I said, its short – only 3,000 words, but the idea it raises is one that I’ve struggled with most of my life. I often do not like to do things that I really, really want to do, or am really looking forward to doing, because once I’ve done them they are over and I am living in the past and no longer looking forward to the future. For instance, I will keep a book that I really want to read on my shelf for a year because once I read it, I no longer have the wonderful anticipatory joy of waiting to read it. This idea of stretching waiting time out is exactly what this kid echos – he doesn’t want to jump in the river because when he does, the countdown starts towards when he needs to get out of the river.
I’ve felt this way about all sorts of experiences, whether its trips (where the second I get on the airplane to go somewhere I’m already thinking about coming back), concerts (where the second I hear the first song I wonder how many songs will they play before this show ends), books (where the second I read the first page I wonder how it will end), movies, you name it. Basically anything I like I delay, because the anticipation of the event to me is almost if not as good as the event itself. Weird but true. That is what this story is about and I love it because I’ve never had these emotions that I feel put into words the way that Mr. Millhauser did. Well done sir.