In 1962 my brother Michael won a pair of tickets for the first Saturday game that the New York Metropolitans ever played.
Make no mistake about it; I was a Yankee fan.
Nevertheless, I nagged my father to take me to this game over in the Polo Grounds, which was not an easy do, public transportation wise, from our section of the Bronx.
A few years later, in 1965, my brother Michael bought a season ticket to the New York Jets.
Make no mistake about it; we were New York Giant fans.
But, neither one of us had ever been to a Giant game as this storied franchise never had a problem selling season tickets, which were routinely bequeathed to generations of Giant fans over the years, or so the legend goes.
We probably would have become Met fans and remained loyal Giant fans, but society (at least the society with which we interacted) would never let you be the fan of both New York baseball or football teams.
I am not sure why that was the case, but there it is. You couldn’t do it, and we didn’t.
But there were those who not only refused to root for the other New York team but got distinct pleasure from the other team’s failure. Some even went so far and rooted more against the other team than rooted for their own team.
There were other rivalries, of course, mostly within the group of teams the New York teams actually competed against.
Yankee -Red Sox (although I never remember the Red Sox being a rival when I was a kid.)
Jets- Oakland Raiders, especially in the early days of the American Football League.
That was the real cause of the rancor erupting in New York between Jet and Giant fans. It wasn’t so much that the Jets were another New York football team but that they dared to belong to the upstart (some would say inferior) American Football League, and that went against the traditional National Football League, which had been around for all our lives.
Now, no one should have any concern about rooting for the team of their choice or actually attend a game in which they are competing.
But it hasn’t always been that easy.
There have been fights and even deaths at sporting events because a fan wore the wrong colors to the game.
Many fans have a hard time accepting that there are other teams that Americans root for, and it has often gone beyond the point of arguing which team had the better players.
I had a season ticket to all Saturday Yankee games for over sixteen years before moving to Florida. During that time, I stopped going to Yankee-Met games and even Yankee-Red Sox games because often, things would happen that would ruin the experience of attending the game.
So, it is no wonder that we have devolved to the point of hating people who think differently than we.
This last week has been a bizarre period in a bizarre era.
That’s all I have to say about it because anything more would only illustrate the point more.
I am about to watch an NFL playoff game, and I am going to enjoy it thoroughly.
I don’t have a team in either of the three games played yesterday or the three games today.
I could care less who wins.
Naturally, what happened this week was an event in which we all had skin in the game.
But, unlike a World Series or Super Bowl, we all came out as losers.