Saturday, November 14, 2015

The good through Sports

We often hear about all the bad things about professional sports.  The billionaires vs. millionaires, the domestic violence, the performance enhancing drugs, how sports is a business, how teams don't care about the fans, and on and on and on.  But we as fans tune in every day, week, month, year for some reason.  There has to be a reason. Sometimes there is a connection to growing up, sometimes it's  family thing, or maybe it's just the sheer enjoyment of entertainment.  Either way we, as fans, love sports.  There is plenty of good that comes through professional sports but very rarely do we hear about it.

Most of my posts are about racing, raising Riley, training or something along those lines.  This one will be very different since I want to share how one of the most amazing experiences I have had was because of how generous a professional sports team was.

I have a friend (let's call him Mickey to keep his name private) who has had some issues this year.  It is not my place to publicly explain what they were, but Mickey has been through a very rough year and has basically gone through hell and back.  Mickey is a Buffalo Bills fan and I am a NY Jets fan for our respective NFL teams.  Every year we go to the Jets/Bills game and root on our teams.  We have a nice competitive streak and give each other hell but it is all in good fun.  We enjoy watching the game together and it is our annual event. As a result of Mickey's problems this year, we weren't sure that we would be able to take part in our tradition.  Let it be known that Mickey is probably the nicest person you will ever meet.  As in the type of guy who just gets under your skin because no one should be this nice and yet somehow he is.  He is the guy who puts everyone first and is more concerned with you than him.  Pretty much he is my total opposite.  So when Mickey went through his issues this year, I wanted to do something special for him.

I knew it was a long shot, but I reached out to the NY Jets organization explaining what the situation was and how I wanted to do something for Mickey.  I explained our tradition and wanted to see if they would help me with something.  Well, I got a response, and what the NY Jets did was something that I couldn't expect and by far and away extremely nice.

Sammy Watkins in action
After trading a few emails back and forth with someone in the NY Jets organization, I was emailed Game Day field passes and tickets for the Jets/Bills game.  More on the seats later, but Mickey and I were allowed to go on the field during pregame warm-ups for the Thursday night nationally televised Jets/Bills game.  We got to meet with the owner of the Jets- Woody Johnson, the GM of the Bills, in addition to the Jets 1992 draft class of Chad Pennington, Laverneus Coles, Shaun Ellis, and a few more.  Plus the country music star Jessie James.  We saw up close and personal the players which was extremely cool.  Take a look at these pictures we got.  No zoom needed.  In fact, Mickey got to see his favorite player Sammy Watkins and almost got him to sign his jersey.

These guys are biiiiiig

I have a whole new respect for how large these guys are.  Seeing Mario Williams up close and how big NFL players are is incredible.

Gotta love a personal escort to the field by Snoopy
After warmups, we were escorted to our seats.  Instead of just giving any seat possible, the Jets gave us the Coaches Club seats which were incredible.  We walk into this suite that is essentially a club with the most incredible food at a stadium.  Seriously, who eats Lobster rolls, shrimp tacos, 5 different kinds of wings, a sushi bar, ice sculpture with a raw bar, and on and on.  That is not stadium food.  That's a nice night out with the wife.  Yet, here were Mickey and I eating away while the Jets walked right in front of us from their locker room onto the field.

The players walking out on to the field right in front of us

These seats were great.  We were so close to the field.  Honestly the Jets went above and beyond.

Even though the Bills won the game (I am convinced the Jets lost because they wanted to do something really special for Mickey), this was an event that I am so thankful for.  All I wanted to do was give my friend something that would help him get through this difficult time, but the NY Jets organization wanted no part in that.  They understood what my friend was going through and decided it was important for them to help out also and make this night extra special.  This occasion wasn't about me. It was about my friend Mickey forgetting about all the crap he has gone through, and having one night that he can enjoy.

So for all we hear about all the negatives in sports, I want everyone to realize there is still good in sports, and the good significantly outweighs the bad.  I honestly can't thank the NY Jets organization enough.  They are a class organization who clearly cares not only about their fans, but also everyone in the community.  They didn't have to do this. And they especially didn't have to be as generous as they were.  I am not sure who appreciated it more, Mickey for the entire night, or myself seeing him get to experience this knowing what he has been through.

This was one of the most special nights I could imagine and I am thankful my friend "Mickey" was able to experience it.

Being on the field was the ultimate highlight and glad
"Mickey" was able to experience it

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