Then, in the past few years, I've done round trips in a car (or on a train) to go to a Jets game.
For years, though, I've been trying to figure out a way to get down to New York just to watch football with some friends.
And this year, Columbus Day weekend provided the best opportunity yet for that.
A couple of things came together to allow me to do it:
One is that my wife was able to clear her weekend of tutoring, which is usually a slight impediment to my football watching on Sundays. Another is that for the first time in my life I had a weekend where I could have gone to the Jets game - they were home against the Steelers - but my dad no longer has the season tickets. And the last is that I had friends who were available and willing to sit in a bar for seven hours-plus.
I took the LimoLiner into the city - it's great because it picks up in Framingham, 5 minutes from my house, and I could leave for a bus at 6:30 on Sunday morning without disturbing my family. That got me into the city at a little before 10.
I was able to do a few things in the city before I met up with my friends (more on that later this week), and then we sat and watched football from about 12:30 until the end of the Patriots game, at about 7:30.
I was not the only person who had the Sunday round-trip idea. (And it was successful enough that it won't be the last time I do it.) On the trip back I saw a couple of other familiar faces from the trip down earlier that morning.
But there were also some frustrating co-travelers.
I have to admit - it wasn't the best day of football. While I loved seeing and talking to my friends (and the fact that the football was not great certainly contributed to me being a better social presence because I paid less attention to the games), the Jets lost, I did not have a great day with my picks for my pool, and my fantasy league performance was not good either.
So I guess my patience was thin when it came to some of the other people on the evening bus.
A group of older ladies had the first couple of rows - they were clearly returning from a ladies day out type of thing. When an older gentleman walked on in a Patriots hat, they made a comment about the Pats game. "Good game," or something like that. (It's an interesting sports dynamic on a bus between New York and Boston. I was probably the only one heading to New York that morning exclusively for football reasons, but I never felt like the only Jets fan. Not that it came up. But on the way back, going to Boston, there was more of a "New York sports fan feeling like an outsider" vibe going for me.)
Anyway, the guy kind of rolled his eyes at the ladies and did kind of a guffaw or something. (I now realize maybe he thought they were New Yorkers teasing him.) I realized he didn't believe them. They repeated themselves, and he tried to convince them he saw the game and knew how it ended. "Brady threw an interception," he said, showing that was the last part of the game he saw. So the guy he was traveling with looked at me, and I said, "Brady threw a touchdown pass with 5 seconds left."
In a blatant show of gender bias, the second older guy turned to the hat-wearing guy and said, "No, they won. This guy says they got a touchdown with 5 seconds left." The male knows football.
So we've established these were clearly Boston fans who were not all that diehard. This was further proven when the attendant taking care of us on the bus, approaching the Massachusetts Turnpike, offered to turn the DirecTV on the bus to FOX.
"Don't bother," one of the women with the Patriots hat guy said. "They're getting killed."
I popped on my phone, expecting to see an 11-0 or 11-1 score in favor of the Tigers. It was 5-1.
As you probably know by now, that very inning the Red Sox rallied to tie the game, which they later won.
It was a great day for Boston sports fans...not a great day for this Jets fan.
But I'm proud of this: I didn't give up on the Jets at any point on Sunday. Heck. I haven't given up on them in 35 mostly terrible years.