Jay C. Brandriet
Something odd is happening with my memory. I may forget parts of what I did yesterday, but decades old moments are starting to come in crystal clear.
My NFL loyalty will always be to the Dallas Cowboys.
Many franchises have contributed to my love of football, and the lessons that come with it.
A couple of examples include the New York Jets.
COMPETING WITH MY DAD INTRODUCED ME TO FOOTBALL PAIN
I’m thinking I was somewhere around six years old. I was in the basement with my dad. He had a small black and white television down there.
He had on a game featuring the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. I’m not sure how it started, but my dad was claiming the Dolphins, which meant I was pulling for the Jets. Miami came out on top. I remember that feeling of competitive let down. My dad was giving me crap and I didn’t like it. Why did this hurt? Without attempting a single tackle, I somehow lost to my dad and Don Shula.
A short time later, I found myself leaning on the Jets again.
THE JETS TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE POWER OF THE SCOREBOARD
One of my closest friends was Johnny Davis. He lived a short walk up the street from my family. Through him I met Robbie Sprague. He was a couple of years older than us. Rob was also a huge influence towards my fascination with the NFL. He was a Raiders fan. He treated Johnny like a younger brother. He would call him “John boy.”
Johnny was under the spell of Rob’s football influence, and was a young Raiders backer as well.
January 15th, 1983 was on a Saturday.
The Los Angeles Raiders would be hosting the New York Jets. A trip to the AFC championship game was on the line.
Rob turned this into a social competition. It’s like he and Johnny were inviting me to some Raiders baptism. Rob was gloating about the silver and black, the tradition, and just win baby.
It was understood, that I was not in their club.
I was drawn to the Jets.
We were at Johnny’s parents house (John and Dixie Davis).
Rob and Johnny were giving me grief all afternoon. I can still remember that lonely, angry feeling. I wanted those two to eat their words so badly.
It’s one of the first experiences cheering for something I could not control.
The Jets won the game 17-14.
I can picture the pain in Lyle Alzado’s face. It was exhilarating.
It was nothing against the Raiders.
It felt personal towards my buddies.
The time had come for my verbal revenge.
I didn’t say much. I noticed it wasn’t really needed.
I now owned this weird social power.
Rob and Johnny looked like they had been punched in the gut.
I gave them each a high five, and seemed to float my way home.
It’s easy to be a good winner, if you appreciate the leverage winning brings.
At seven years old, something about pro sports became obvious.
The scoreboard does ALL the talking.
Jay C. Brandriet