|September 11, 2011: My first home Jets game.|
In 1979, my family moved to the United States and I picked the New York Jets as my professional football team, probably because I liked the helmet. Last year, I bought Jets season tickets for the first time and I decided to renew this year. MetLife Stadium is 231 miles from my current residence and it takes a lot longer than 3 hours and 30 minutes to do the round trip. A typical day trip consumes anywhere from 12-15 hours to take in a three hour or so game. It can be absolutely brutal. This past Sunday, a pathetic 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins, was probably the last time I will make a single day trip as a season ticket holder. While I may still take in a game or two per season in the future, the value of buying season tickets for a team located three to five states away (depending on how you get there and how you view the District), just isn't there for me.
In my time as a season ticket holder, I’ve traveled to East Rutherford, NJ using about every combination of ground transportation I can think of: I’ve driven up and back in the same day; I’ve driven up and back over multiple days while staying with my sister; I’ve taken the train up and back in the same day; I’ve taken the bus up and back in the same day; and I’ve taken the train up and the bus back in the same day. Most of the trips I’ve taken have been smooth and uneventful; just the kind of travel I like. All of the games have been wins or close losses except this past Sunday when we got beaten badly. Did I mention the word pathetic already?
Along the way, there have been some unexpected events or crises to deal with. A couple of weeks ago after the Jets whipped the Indianapolis Colts 35-9 our train stopped dead with no power about two miles from Baltimore on the trip home. My friend Chris and I were subjected to a non-stop verbal assault from a guy on the other end of our car thinking he has stand-up talent while Amtrak non-scrambled non-furiously to find a solution. It took about 70 minutes and an all crew meeting in the dining car (announced over the PA system) to finally send another engine to pick us up after about four trains passed us. We ended up getting to Union Station after midnight. I like the train but the concept of customer service seems lost on Amtrak. Still waiting to hear on the resolution to my complaint.
I'd take train stoppages and after midnight arrivals in DC though over the late night hospital visit my friend Mike had to make after the 2011 home loss to the hated New England Patriots. That night could have literally been fatal. When I got a text message from Mike accusing me of leaving him in New Jersey (I was waiting outside the bathroom for him and he had wandered out of the stadium, for the record), my cell battery was literally 15 minutes away from empty. Getting a confused, angry, drunk guy who has lost blood (we didn't know that at the time) to find his way to the train knowing my phone was about to die is something I don't want to go through again. I don't think I've ever been happier to see Mike when I finally found him.
Anyway, I'm probably done with single day trips as a season ticket holder but just for the record, I put yesterday's trip into pictures for posterity.
6:46 a.m. Ballston Metro, open early for the Marine Corps Marathon. It's usually gated at this time so I'm typically waiting with a pretty sketchy crowd. The homeless guy doing laps of the Metro entrance made it feel like a usual Sunday morning.
7:55 a.m. All aboard! Please please please Amtrak, don't run out of power again. The trip up has always been uneventful. With a storm bearing down on us later in the day, I'm wondering if I've made the right choice with the bus return trip.
|11:28 a.m. Switching from Amtrak to New Jersey Transit at Newark International Airport. Switching at the airport is definitely the way to go. This becomes train number four of the day.|
|12:05 p.m. MetLife Stadium through the filthy window of train number five. As opposed as I am to stadiums built outside of cities, I actually think this one is pretty well designed. They spent some money that they didn't have to here.|
12:22 p.m. Lunch. There's something about eating hot italian sausage with peppers and onions with globs of spicy mustard in New Jersey, even if it is just stadium food.
1:05 p.m. Almost kickoff time. Fireman Ed on the screen leading the J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS! chant. It didn't work on this day. Our team came out flat from the opening kickoff.
|4:48 p.m. Waiting for the Vamoose bus on the corner of 7th and 30th. I love the Vamoose bus. They are flexible about reservation times (I actually had a 6 p.m. reservation) and they stop in Virginia, not DC!|
5:15 p.m. Bye bye, New York after a quick half hour stay. The Lincoln Tunnel has to be my favorite tunnel of all time, although all the cool art deco stuff is best seen from the Jersey side coming into the city.
8:37 p.m. Somewhere in Maryland on the bus. 4-1/2 hours or so of this view. On the iPod on the way home: some shuffling, a movie (Welcome to Death Row) and two episodes of Family Ties. :)
9:58 p.m. Rosslyn. Orange line train to Vienna. The bus on Sunday evening costs about $120 less than the train, which means I can really afford a cab home from Rosslyn. However, finding none, the Metro is always ready.
|10:20 p.m. Nothing says home like a New Belgium Snow Day Ale and a bowl of jalapeno cheddar Chex mix. Actually there are a lot of things that say home way more than those two things, but that's what I had when I got home.|