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Gopnik on Jets

by gwolinetz on January 12th, 2010

Adam Gopnik has been enlisted by the New Yorker to write about everyone’s beloved sad-sacks, the New York Jets, as they careen through this year’s NFL playoffs. My favorite part:

… those of us who were grimly certain that they were going to lose that first playoff game, simply because the Jets are the Jets, remain, after their glorious Cincinnati victory, grimly certain that they will lose the next one. And yet we still have hope. Being a Jet fan recalls the Calvinist view of predestination, which this blogger’s kid is studying in school: just because you know something is sure to happen doesn’t mean you can’t care.

Has one paragraph ever so accurately captured a fan base’s sad attachment to their team? Jets’ fans (myself included) are truly some of the most beaten human beings in the entire world. When Cincinnati scored that TD to make it 21-14, I immediately told my wife that the announcer had cursed them, simply because he’d said that the Jets could put away the game if they scored points on the 3-and-out drive that they’d had just prior to the Cincy TD. This is the kind of insanity that I buy into: the announcer, sitting in a booth high above the field, has some sort of magic ability to alter the game’s outcome with his words. Intellectually, I know this is both the law of averages and selective memory at work. Instinctively, I can’t help but feel that the fucking guy just jinxed my team.

I’ve loved the New York Jets for a long time. My dad and I used to sit in two rows from the top in the end zone to watch them lose 9-6 the Colts. And countless disappointment after countless disappointment, I can’t help but think that something has to go right. But I also can’t help but think that all the things going right are setting me up for something bigger to go horribly wrong.

Two things about Adam Gopnik:

1) His book, “Angels and Ages” is one of the best books that I’ve read some of (I can’t find the damn thing in my stacks, otherwise I’d finish it) in some time. I say this having barely understood a word of it.

2) He’s speaking at the 92nd St. Y with Malcolm Gladwell on Feb. 16.

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