Nick Wetzel, Sports Editor |
As a sports fan in a city with two teams for every major sport, you grow up conditioned to not like the “other” team. As a Yankees, Jets, and Knicks fan, I do not root for the Mets, the Giants, nor the Nets (which is not particularly hard to do because they are dreadful). I have never been of the mindset of, “Well they’re from New York, so you have to root for them too.” Absolutely not.
I root for these teams only when they play teams that I hate even more, like when the Giants play the Patriots or the Mets play the Red Sox. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the saying goes.
As for the Yankees, they are the gold standard when it comes to winning championships. They might not have won as much recently, but you don’t have to go back too far to remember the last time they won the World Series (2009). They are definitely not a hard team to be a fan of.
At the same time, it is hard to be a fan of the other two of my three New York teams, the Jets and the Knicks. However, both of these teams have history. The Jets, piloted by “Broadway” Joe Namath, defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The Knicks won two championships in the 1970’s thanks to Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Willis Reed. The Knicks have also come close a few times since, most notably during the Patrick Ewing era. Each franchise has their legends that bring a smile to fans’ faces when they think of them.
Obviously, teams can’t stay great forever. The Yankees, for example, haven’t been great the past few years, but they have a stable inflow of young and promising players that look to be the driving force of future championship contenders. The Jets and the Knicks haven’t been great for much longer and the future looks just as bleak. While the Yankees, the Jets, and the Knicks haven’t been great as of late, only the Yankees have continued to instill hope.
Hope is like crack to a sports fan. Hope is what fills the seats when your team is nowhere near the playoff race. Hope (and stupidity) is what makes fans get tattoos of championship trophies before their team has even clinched a spot in the playoffs. Hope is what drives fans. The Chicago Cubs motto for over a hundred years was “There’s always next year” until they won the World Series last season, and “next year” became “now.” That is hope.
That is why it is so hard to be a fan of the Knicks and Jets. There doesn’t seem to be hope with these teams, just pain, embarrassment, and mediocrity. The Jets had a good season last year and there was actually a fair amount of hope for a playoff berth among their fans this year. But in typical Jets fashion, not only did they not make the playoffs but they took the hope that Jet fans mustered up and beat the crap out of it, and when they were done beating it down, they spit in its face.
The Knicks, not to be outdone, did everything in their power to completely humiliate not only the franchise but the fans and any former players. They kicked a beloved former player out of the arena, banned him for life, invited a number of former players to the next game to sit next to the owner, removed the ban from that player after a meeting with the commissioner and Michael Jordan (but mysteriously not the player who was banned), and are now planning a day to celebrate said player! I literally can’t make this up. All of this is going on while the president of the team is doing everything he can to drive the star veteran off the team. Hope, meet dumpster fire.
So thank you, New York Yankees, for being my one beacon of hope in sports.