Monday, January 24, 2011

Jets + Mets = Despair (But Joe Namath Still Makes Me Smile)

Just so damn cute.....
When I was a little girl--despite being a baseball fan from an early age--I had a huge crush on Joe Namath. Me and most of the females in New York City.

We didn't care that he had a reputation as a womanizer or that he night-clubbed in a full length fur coat or even that he wore pantyhose in an advertisement (click link below). He was just cute as hell....that smile, that fu manchu mustache, that hairy chest, yowza.

I followed "Broadway Joe" in the Daily News for years. Hence my vague interest in the New York Jets. Emphasis on "vague."

My family was baseball, all  the way: Immigrants glued to the TV, my grandfather bellowing in Hungarian as fly balls were dropped or opportunities missed at the plate as the fledgling Mets earned their status as underdogs.

Then they won the world series, of course, in 1969 and my family shared the joy with the rest of the city. I also remember that we enjoyed that triumph with a grain of salt---true Mets fans, cynical by nature, feared this win was a fluke and sensed that David Wright, wearing a flying saucer on his head, was in our futures.

My family never successfully transformed into football fans despite my adolescent interest in Joe Namath and the Jets' own huge up-set Super bowl victory in 1969...although I did wear and still own a little Jets bracelet given to me that Christmas.

Based on the news this morning and the embittered attitude of my sons (one of whom likes to place a monetary wager now and again on the outcomes of certain games and has, as a result, proven that steam actually can come out of someone's ears ), the attitude in Jets-town today is pretty dismal.

Hence my query--are most Mets fans, Jets fans? And if so, does it indicate a subconscious desire to suffer?

Both teams played in the Polo Grounds and then moved into Shea Stadium-- an inescapable connection. You can't grow up in the same house without bonding.

Don't underestimate the subconscious importance that Jets rhymes with Mets. Or that the Jets started as AFL underdogs as were the upstart Mets underdogs, daring to organize in a city where the Yankees reigned supreme.

They also, according to my extremely unscientific research, seem to share a traditional inability to achieve consistent success, obviously translating into discontent and frustration for their fans. Mets and Jets fans are also unified based on the fact that the richer franchises in town attract "front-runners," a word neither of my sons can even utter without spitting on the ground and shaking their heads.

So, Mets fans and Jets fans are united in frustration and disappointment. Football, for me, is no more than background noise despite the angry howls and the sound of snack items being flung about so I don't dare say more than I already have.But in the course of your day, if you come across a Yankee fan (after all, spring training is only weeks away), just turn up your lip in disdain and ask him if he'd have the nerve to wear pantyhose in public.

The question will confuse him, giving you a brief and insignificant victory but a victory, nonetheless...and, apparently we have to take those when we can get 'em.YouTube - Joe Namath Beauty Mist Pantyhose Commercial
 The fu manchu era. I rest my case.


  1. In Nineteen Seventy-Something, having returned from a harrowing and horrible four weeks at summer camp, severely traumatized and regretting my broken eyeglasses, I went out to Trader Vic's with my family for a celebratory "Welcome Home and You Damn Well Better Never Send Me Away To Camp Again" dinner. Broadway Joe was there that night, in the bar. My family saw them as we passed through the bar on the way to our table, and all evening women passed back and forth through the bar on their way to and from the ladies' room. My sister and I gave it a try; as she led me through the restaurant she poked me and whispered "There he is!" but I could see nothing. NOTHING. To this day I have to take it on faith that Joe was there, because the only way I could have known for sure would have been to jam myself in his face, and at age 13 (and even now) I could never make myself do that.

  2. Wow, that experience in Trader Vic's must have only added tothe total trauma of your summer. What a fabulous anecdote....I am so sorry you didn't catch a glimpse of him. He must have been blocked by all the women. Thanks so much for reading the blog and leaving this story behind....