I took a friend and his 10-year-old son, Jack, a devoted Giant’s fan, to the New York Giant’s pre-season opener. Walking past the tailgaters, Jack said to me, “Steve, when I see Brown’s fans, I’m gonna slap my chest and yell out ‘COMMITTED’! I’m gonna yell, COMMITTED, Steve. Watch!” On the way up the escalator to the 300 level, Jack, in his #15 Giant’s Jersey added, “I’m pretty sure I’m the only one here with a Brandon Marshall shirt.”
We climbed to our seats in section 332, Jack gazed across the legendary Giant’s field. “Steve, these are great seats. Great seats, Steve.” My own sons were discussing food: “I’m getting nachos,” said one. “I want cotton candy,” said the other. Jack said, “You think OBJ’s (Odell Beckham Jr.) gonna have a breakout game? I think OBJ’s gonna have a breakout game.”
“You know, preseason’s really for testing out their rookies and backup players,” I said. “It’s about seeing who they have behind their starters; gives the coaches an opportunity to know which players are best in which situations. There’s a lot of strategy involved.”
“Yeah, I get it,” Jack said. “I just want to see OBJ have a breakout game.”
As the teams lined up for kickoff, Jack repeated, “it’s Saquon Barkley time. It’s Saquon Barkley time.” Then yelling. “It’s Barkley time!”
As hyped and as hoped, Barkley took his first hand-off from scrimmage and transformed an ordinary play into a 39-yard romp. “He crossed up those Browns!” the kids screamed. Several Cleveland Brown’s players were left laid out in Barkley’s wake.
Jack screamed and slapped high fives. The Brown’s fans in front of us were quiet. Just the way Jack wanted it.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game turned sour for the Giants. As the Brown’s took a lead that they would never relinquish, Jack, who was sitting several seats from his dad, took advantage of the freedom to speak his mind: “The Giants are really putting on a sh*t show. The Giants are putting on a – .”
“I don’t think your father wants you to use that language,” I said.
“I know but….”
“It’s pre-season, Jack. They’re not going to play their stars. They’re testing what they have.”
“Can I just say one thing,” Jack asked.
“The Giants are really putting on a sh*t show!”
As the game progressed, and the Giants chances of winning didn’t, Jack began looking for inspiration elsewhere. “At least we’re at a game, right Steve? We’re at a game together, right? At least we’re at a game, Steve.”
We were at the game, all right, on a beautiful summer night. We had nachos. We had ice cream. The kids did the floss for the big screen’s attention. It may have been a loss for the Giant’s but it was a win for us!
Celebrate the day. ‘Cause you never know…