We were traveling on Super Bowl Sunday when the Giants were playing IN THE GAME. To this day I have no idea what my father was thinking. Had this happened when I was old enough to handcuff myself to the television that's exactly what I would have done. Unfortunately I was only seven and at the mercy of my parents.
We were able to watch most of the first half before going to the airport. We rushed to the nearest TV at the gate to watch as much of the game as possible. As the Bills took possession for their final drive, we were boarding the plane and my father and I could not watch no matter how much it pained us.
I hopped into my seat and grabbed headphones from the flight attendant seemingly in one motion. I plugged into the arm rest headphone jack and flipped through every channel until I found the game. I was just in time to hear Frank Gifford tell me that Scott Norwood was lining up a 47 yard field goal with the game on line. Make, or miss, this game was over after this kick.
Again, being seven years old, I didn't quite grasp the concept that the dozens of other passengers on the plane were not living and dying with this kick the way I was. I began to pray, out loud, for everyone to hear, that this kick would miss. It did, and I cheered with as much joy as my young life had ever experienced.
That's about as far back as my memory goes when it comes to being a fan of the New York Giants, but the truth is that I was rooting for them before I could talk. As I sat with my dad watching how intensely he would follow each play there was no doubt which team I would root for. I was wearing Lawrence Taylor Halloween costumes before I could spell Halloween. This was my team, always has been, always will be.
No matter how much time was spent during the week at work, come Sunday the Giants were on and my father and I were watching. It was the time of week when there was only one thing that mattered. When the team stunk we watched and complained. When the team was terrific we watched and cheered. That's the nature of being a fan. Especially in a sport where at the end of the season 31 teams will walk away disappointed.
We watched because we cared, and we cared because we are fans. Should the outcome of a Giants game alter my mood for the rest of the day? Probably not, but it does. I grew up watching and analyzing every play and every player. Carl Banks was one of the most underrated players in the history of the league but even some Giants fans will forget what he did because he played next to Lawrence Taylor. I don't. Taylor was the greatest defender to ever take the field in the NFL so he naturally overshadowed everybody else, but that doesn't take away from what Banks was able to accomplish.
I became a fan the day I was born, and the day I die I will be wondering what the latest Giants news will be. I could be laying in a hospital bed surrounded by friends and family and those who know and love me more than anybody else will be sure to give me an update. That's my team, and that's why they are my team.