Friday, March 31, 2006

Jet Lag

(66) Jet Lag

Leon Hess was an oil guy and owned the New York Jets football team. A miserable crew most years. More soap operas than wins. One Super Bowl ring, and that was in 1969.

When Leon died, his will said, in effect, “Sell the team. No one in my family cares about football, and no one gets the money if they keep it.”

So, natch, they sold the team.

The Jets do not have a home of their own. They play at Giant Stadium in New Jersey. A little green in the Meadowlands swamp.

But they train at Hofstra University’s campus on Long Island. It’s a New York presence that keeps us from completely laughing off the “New York” part of their name. (Why the Giants keep “New York” in their name is a total mystery, since they DO have a home and it is Giant Stadium, that very same Giant Stadium in which the Giants play.

And when that place is rebuilt, both teams will occupy it.

The team’s relatively new owners say they’re going to put the headquarters in New Jersey, too – sometime soon. So now the team can train, do paperwork and lose football games all in the same state. Elegant.

Roll this one around your tongue: “The East Rutherford Jets.” Or this: “The Florham Park Jets.”

It will be a little less painful when Florham Park keeps losing. After all, it’s Florham Park, not New York City – which doesn’t breed losers, generally if you don’t count the ’06 Knicks and most seasons’ Mets.

The people who come to Hempstead, Long Island to watch the Jets train will have to find something else to do. Like going to Islanders Hockey games. They should feel right at home there. These guys don’t win a lot, either. Not only that, but the hockey season has many more games than football. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

The nearby Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts probably won’t feel much of a loss. They have the school kids and the travelers to count on. The village of Hempstead certainly won’t notice a difference. No one goes there now, so there can’t be a decline in auto or pedestrian traffic and business.

So, the Jets take off for New Jersey, and no one but a handful of die-hard fans notice.

Good luck, New Jersey. Claim this team entirely for your own, instead of just mostly.

And Leon? You did the right thing, posthumously. You should have done it sooner.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2006

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