I just read the joint statement by the New York Jets and Giants and it hit me like a ton of bricks! It marks the end of an era for me.
A joint statement from the Jets and Giants: pic.twitter.com/fP8eqaDBPw
— New York Jets (@nyjets) July 20, 2020
For the first time in 55 years, I won’t be attending New York Jets Training Camp.
With all the people going through so much because of COVID-19, I know this sounds silly and selfish, so I hope it’s not taken in the wrong way.
But I wanted to share my feelings with all of you, and some of my experiences.
My Training Camp History
It started at Peekskill, NY. The AFL Jets signed the legend Joe Namath, my dad was the team internist, and my brother Chris Nicholas was a ball boy.
In 1965, our whole family would go watch 2 or 3-a-day practices.
Then the Jets moved closer to my home in Babylon and started holding training camp at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island. This was awesome, being able to go to practices all summer long.
In 1974, it got even better as I began working for the team! I could watch practice year-round, every practice! I was able to prove myself there and my love of football shined through as the first woman scout in the NFL. But deep down, I was just happy to watch practice.
In 1981, after marrying my husband John, I made the tough choice to leave the Jets and moved to Florida. My dad was still doctor but I was committed that I would find a way to still watch every practice during training camp.
Training Camp from 1981 Forward
Every year, my husband and I would make our yearly budget, and always included was money saved for a plane flight to Jets Camp. He viewed it as essential to my existence. He was right!
I went to Weeb Ewbank Hall every year until 2008 when they left for New Jersey, but I still spent 2 weeks every summer going back up to watch practices. Then on to Cortland and Atlantic Health until this year, and the Jets still treated me like family.
Nothing (and there were some tough times) stopped those 2-3 weeks of total bliss every August! My husband understood my passion and my son Chris would come with me. The Jets, through many changes, brought me great joy.
Jets Camp carried me through hard times. The illnesses and passing of my beloved mother, father and husband were healed in the warm summer breeze and the smell of grass and sweat. I carried them with me in spirit knowing they wanted me to continue on.
So when at this time I’d be packing my 25 Jets shirts, Jets jewelry, and my adrenaline flowing, ready to see the new draft picks – instead COVID-19 broke another record.
I’m So Thankful for My Experiences
I have been honored to have had my story chronicled and have met amazing sports professionals, people who changed the entire sports world (and world!) but at my core, I’m still just a teenage Jets fan.
I love the team, every incarnation of it. We’ve been through hills and valleys. But I am confident that fellow fans will support our team, our players and keep bleeding green.
While I am deeply saddened that training camp won’t be happening for me, it caused me to reflect on the incredible blessings I’ve been gifted. And if no camp means another life saved, then it was worth it.
I’ve had a great 55-year streak w/ training camp. But no streak can go forever. Instead of being sad about the change, I’m excited about what’s next. Because I know it will be good!