post

Post Move, the Celtic Classic, & Perfect Pour Guinness Video

Good morning to everyone out there who might actually be reading this.  What a busy few weeks it has been moving and getting settled in to the new homestead.  It has been a good kind of busy.  Just think of George and Weezie moving on up.  The first few days that was what I was thinking.  I even did the “George Jefferson Swagger” for Gina as that is one memorable swagger.  I will have some pictures or video next week of the new place.  Like I said, it has just been busy.  Well, that and one other slight issue.

In the process of packing, I wanted to make sure my SD cards were in a safe place.  This way, when we arrived in our new abode, I would be able to hit the ground running.  I could not even touch the ground as I put those SD cards in such a safe place, I forgot where I put them.  Yeah, perfect.  They are in a Talenti gelato container in some storgae bin.  Finding them will be my own personal home game.  Can I guess which bin my SD cards are in?  Tune in next week as I pull my hair out of my head checking the same containers over and over.  Film at 11.

I ended up buying to SD cards from Amazon in the meantime so I have something to record with.  The need was important as Gina and I will be attending the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this weekend.  The weekend will be a great reminder of our trip to Ireland and Scotland this past summer.  The trip is embeded in my memory as one of the best experiences of my life.  To be surrounded by the same feeling I had at Oliver St. John Gogarty‘s, the Guinness Storehouse, or even the Jameson Distillery is worth the trip to the Celtic Classic.

ImageThree2013The Celtic Classic offers the largest Highland Games and festival in North America!   In the tradition of the celebration of Celtic heritage, the Celtic Classic has endured both man and nature for over 25 years.  This September 27, 28 & 29, 2013, the Celtic Classic will return to Historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, renewed in its purpose, to preserve and promote Celtic Culture. They continue to bring the same great athletics, piping, music and dance to thrill and entertain the masses.

The essence of tradition is the interpretation of it by the people presenting it. The volunteers who will be bringing the 2013 Celtic Classic will put their own stamp on this world class event. On Saturday morning, Gina and I have a 10 AM whickey tasting.  They same kind of whiskey tasting experience we had in Edinburgh.  There is also a lesson on how to pour the perfect Guinness.  Another activity we eagerly learned in Dublin at the Guinness Storehouse.  Being able to take part in these activites is what will make the weekend worth remembering.  That along with all the pictures and cideo to be taken.  Bad joke?  Not really.

So when we get back I will have the updates I promised and talked about regarding my video blog, YouTube page, or whatever else one calls their video series.  I thought “Dave On Demand” sounded quite snazzy.  Combine that with reports from the Celtic Classic and my classes at Gotham Writers Workshop in a few weeks and you have quite a lot of topics to discuss.  So much time and so little to do.  Strike that, reverse it.

Moving has also helped me to relax and let my mind focus on what I need to.  I can associate it with a toy I had in the late 70′s.  It was an Incredible Hulk toy in a cage.  You pumped him full of air and he would expand to the point where his clothes would tear off before he broke out of the cage.  It was a fun toy.  I remember playing with it before having my tonsils removed.  My old place was sort of like that.  I was cramped for space, I needed to break out and let my mind and creativity have more space to work properly.

Now that I have had a few weeks to think and get my stuff situated, it will be easier going forward to do what I set out to do.  In the middle of it all I need to get my ass to a New York Giants or Jets tailgate this season.  The New York Jets are 2-1 behind Geno Smith.  It is painful to cheer for Gang Green, but I do it.  Thank you to my father for that one.

I need to start packing for the Celtic Classic.  I will be kilted and will have pictures for eveyone to see.  No, I will not be going regimental.  There will be Under Armour worn underneath just in case the wind decides to blow.  So as I am off getting pissed, enjoy a video of my wife Gina and I learning how to pour the perfect Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland from this past summer.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NY Jets Need To Deliver, For Their Fans Sake

I was originally asked to write this piece for the Football Reporters Online NFL Draft guide.  Unfortunately, the guide was not put together for release.  The piece focuses on the New York Jets, their fans, MetLife Stadium, and PSL’s in regard to the Jets.  The idea that a PSL is “an investment” is discussed in contrast to those who want them for future generations.  This is a topic I have covered countless times.

I did not want this piece to sit in limbo for eternity.  Every Jets fan has their opinion on the PSL’s.  They are also outspoken in regards to other teams possibly entertaining the PSL idea.  The story never changes, but every once in a while new pages need to be added for a deeper in depth story.

Enjoy!

Since 1996, football has watched itself grow beyond the typical funding, state grants, and loans that it takes to create and furnish a new stadium in the NFL.  The advent of the PSL has created opportunities for some but has also turned off many depending on the team you are a season ticket holder for.  When it comes to MetLife Stadium and the New York Jets, what was supposed to be a worthwhile “investment” turned into turmoil for many.

When the New York Jets announced that they were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, it was met with mixed reactions.  Especially from those long time season ticket holders who had been with the franchise since the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium.  Many fans have been with the Jets, supporting them in every situation and season longer than any staff member associated with the team.  That shows dedication while Jets’ employees will always move on.

The term “investment” has been used loosely when it comes to the purchase and ownership of a PSL.  People are split on this concept.  Many long time season ticket holders want to hold onto their seats.  Like many before them, retaining them in order to pass them along to a younger generation to enjoy.  Others “invest” in a PSL and sell the season tickets in hopes of making a profit selling the tickets either on a game by game basis or the entire season.

Jetsseasontix-592x274As many Jets fans know today, that is nearly impossible.  This past season, tickets were being sold for a fraction of their face value.  Some went through Stub Hub and purchased seats for each game, sitting in the same seats as if they owned a PSL.

Since the Jets introduced the PSL’s, I have related them to holding stock.  A flat value paid to a company in hopes that they value of said “stock” would rise due top the performance of the team.  No one owns one PSL, the minimum would be two seats or two shares in the team.  That PSL money helps to fund the stadium along with other “seat investors” and the Jets organization itself.

After that flat investment was paid, for example, 5,000 per seat just to be able to have the right top purchase season tickets.  The PSL only give you a license to purchase your tickets in the lower and middle tiers of the stadium while the upper part of the bowl is a complete NON PSL section.  So after you have your seats and tickets for that flat price, it is now up to the Jets and their team performance to determine what the future value would be for those PSL’s.

Just like any public company who offers any form of public stock, that stock value is determined by that company’s performance.  Google continues to actively trade at a high price many are willing to pay while Facebook is struggling to even keep its shares at a reasonable price.  There are many variables that determine what the stock price would be worth.

Jets Cut PSL PricesBut the main question remains, is this investment the best value for my money?  Will I get a return on my investment?  Is the company’s performance in the short-term and the long-term enough to be worth my time and money?  New York Jets fans ask themselves those same questions.  Since the beginning, the Jets have restructured prices & PSL structures in an effort to keep seats filled for more than one game.

The Jets performance has been sub par at best.  Performance has been below expectations.  The organization and the team have not risen to the occasion that their investors (fans) would have hoped for.  Especially in this new Roman Colosseum they built for the VIP’s and corporate sponsors.  The Jets have done nothing to raise these values with a New York Super Bowl less than one year away.

When a company is not performing to expectations, investors have certain rights to make changes in a company to ensure their investment does not hit bottom.  But the Jets are not a public company.  PSL holders can complain but the ultimate decision still lies within the Jets executive offices.  Even though the Jets on field performance has not met expectations from investors, all they can do is sit back and hope the decision makers in charge do the right thing.  Not just to increase performance and value, but for their fans as well.

Recently, the Cleveland Browns did away with their PSL structure.  Starting this season, new season ticket holders only have to pay for their tickets.  Current PSL holders will have the opportunity to add-on new seats without having to pay for a new PSL and still maintain their PSL holder privileges.  The Browns organization is doing this to help raise attendance and draw fans back to live games.  The Jets and Woody Johnson can learn from other teams examples and not just leave an upper bowl with Non PSL seats..

PSL holders for both the Jets and Giants are offered opportunities to purchase tickets for other events at MetLife Stadium.  It may not be in their seat or section, but they do get offers first before non PSL holders or the general public.  The true test of this benefit will come during next year’s Super Bowl.  Will these PSL holders be offered any kind of seat, even if their respective team is not in the Super Bowl?  How will the Jets and Giants handle ticket disbursement for the Super Bowl to their PSL holders?

There are so many questions and not enough answers when it comes to PSL’s and the benefits it covers, regardless of the team.  But one thing is clear, the more you pay for your seat location, the better your benefits and the better you are treated y that respective organization.

4708201386_c84096e02a_zOn June 16, 2010, the Jets held an open practice at the still being constructed MetLife Stadium.  Many tables with sales representatives we strewn about talking up season tickets and PSL packages.  They were in their collar shirts and khakis and offered up the usual brochures to passing fans who wanted more information.  The sales representatives for VIP sections, Coaches Club sections, and luxury boxes had a very different approach.

Clad in suits and offering up sales pitches to those who want to spend at least six figures per season were treated very differently.  As I followed one such sales agent, I heard him tell his prospective client the following: “you would receive the same treatment we reserve for Woody Johnson.”  Was this a part of the sales pitch?  Was it right to tell this prospective luxury box ticket holder he would be treated differently than those fans who or for a PSL in the lower bowl or even a NON PSL holder in the upper deck?

It does appear the Jets do not treat all their fans as equals.  In one such case with luxury box holder, Jack Usman, who I interviewed in the past said that “his sales representative had  been dressed so provocatively in the shortest, tightest skirt and the highest heels he had ever seen”.  He was amazed how a sales agent would dress like that just to talk about a luxury box.  All because he wanted to spend close to 1 million over three years on a box to bring clients.  If he was just another fan, it would just be a phone call and a package sent to his house.

In this age of “he who spends the most wins”  has taken its toll on professional sports.  One used to be able to bring a family of four to a football game.  These days, parents sometimes have to decide which child goes to which game.  Forget about the cheap seats in the upper deck.  What kind of experience is that for a childs first football game.  To those in charge of those decisions, it does not matter.  The only thing that matters is the bottom line,  regardless of who occupies those seats.

PSL’s may be a necessity for certain NFL teams to build their new stadium, but at what cost to their fans? Depending on the market you enjoy your favorite team in can also determine the cost of the PSL’s.  So many factors affect price structures.  The New York Metropolitan area just happens to be the most expensive market for professional football.

tommywilsonWhen the Jets rolled out their PSL’s there was a tremendous fan base shift.  Many older, dedicated fans from the days of Shea Stadium and the Polo Grounds never stepped foot in MetLife Stadium.  Some even passed away after making their initial PSL paymentt like Tommy Wilson.  The man paid for the seats in October 2009 and only saw them from above.

Professional sports have always kept up with the times, especially the NFL.  With the modernization of new stadiums & being able to offer cutting edge amenities, comes a hefty price tag.  One that gets passed to its fans in certain cases.  None has been in a higher profile situation more than the New York Jets and their fans.  This past season  added more fuel to an ever going bonfire.

The Atlanta Falcons have just been approved to be the latest franchise in the NFL to build a new stadium. A team on the cusp & capable of a Super Bowl appearance.  Will PSL’s be used in the building of the new stadium?  Will there be enough viable funding options to not lay a burden on the fans with PSL’s?  Time will tell.  If the Falcons organization needs to do marketing research to determine the fans options, Jets fans are always willing to share their opinions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tailgating As Important As Game Day Event?

Last time I talked about how bad tailgating had gotten at MetLife Stadium .  Someone from Twitter had read my article and said there are more important things to talk about with the Jets.

I agree, there is.  I do that on Football Reporters Online Presents The Jets Zone on Tuesday nights at 8 PM on BlogTalkRadio.  I know cheap plug.  But when it comes to on the field talk that is where we get it done.

I prefer to come on here and use this medium for off the field talk.  The time when many fans enjoy themselves even before any kick off has been taken.  The pregame festivities are planned by some well in advance.  Even more so that what they plan on getting inside the stadium.

Tailgating has become a ritual for some.  Making preparation a week in advance and doing prep work well into the night before a game.

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006...

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006…

Leaving early to make sure one has a prime piece of tailgating property.  Marking their territory, ready to kick the tires and light the fires.

There are quite a few who decide to watch the game from their HDTV at their tailgate rather than buying a ticket.  Truly making a full day of their blacktop BBQ.

So much attention has been centered on tailgating in recent years.  This is one volcano that is about to erupt and develop faster than Mt. Vesuvius. Leaving behind nothing but refuse, tired masses, and plenty of merchandise.

These days for Jets fans tailgating has been creating more positives memories and gatherings than the Jets games.  Certain games fans wish would be enveloped by amnesia.

Tailgating is as important as the game to so many fans.  I know a couple tailgating groups scattered around every parking section that prepare for tailgating a little more than your average joe.

Creating the bigger and badder tailgate has become a competition for those who decide to bring in their grills on a flatbed trailer.  It is amazing how some not just build a better mousetrap, but a way to filet and prepare it as well.

English: Tailgating

English Tailgating

This past Sunday, many from across the concrete jungle watched the New England game while attending a huge tailgating party as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Thrillist and Bleacher Report threw their latest Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Tailgate Throwdown at Beekman’s Beer Garden right on the pier.

Tons of events like these have been run that gather Jets fans to revel with their fellow Gang Green brethren.  It allows fans to enjoy a tailgate they may not have considered before.  Getting a new experience on what it means to watch a game.

I am sure today many are out making the necessary preparation for tomorrows game regardless of who they follow.  Menus being reviewed, meat being prepped, and beer being stored by the case so no one goes thirsty before kick off.

When it comes to college football, tailgating is a whole entity unto itself.  Many even tailgate and camp out the night before and turn it into a weekend festivity.  College football has had true tailgating going back to the late 1800′s when people had picnics behind their horse drawn carriages hence the name tailgating.

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

Now NASCAR knows the true passion of tailgating.  Thousands line up their trailers, campers,  and trucks on a Friday and party the weekend away just until the race on Sunday.  Now that’s tailgating.  NASCAR tailgating transcends what tailgating means.

So the next time someone tries to say tailgating is not worth discussing or not as important as the on field product, then that individual truly does not know the job tailgating does for their faithful blacktop chefs of BBQ.

Even the teams and companies who put out merchandise know the volumes of business it helps drive their way.  One can pass by a sponsored tailgate and see beer advertising, loaned grills, and free merchandise to help advertise their tailgating wares.

New York Jets fans know how important tailgating is.  The Jets do as well.  That is why they send Woody Johnson out there when they can to do PR to boost his positive image.  Certain Jets fans believe he visits tailgaters in order to keep a positive image and make fans believe he is just a regular guy.

But he isn’t.

Tailgating represents a way for fans to be individuals.  We may all arrive wearing the same colors and cheering on the same players, but we all tailgate differently.  That is why it is so much fun.  Everyone stands out in their own way and their tailgate becomes their own personal man cave.

No better place to throw some meat over an open fire.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Torch Passed To Lower Class of Jets Tailgating

This past Sunday I went to my first Jets tailgate of the season.  Not game, tailgate.  I have not attended a game in the new MetLife Stadium.  Have had no desire to lay anything out to watch a team make their fans invest and suffer more than a Facebook stockholder.

Now I may not have the experience and knowledge to go in depth about some problems the team has on the field I can sure talk about off field happenings.  Especially when it comes to tailgating.

For the first time I paid to be in a stadium lot rather than walk over from the Sheraton.  We did have to walk over from the Izod using the cattle bridge but at least we were among the Jets tailgating faithful.  While making the trek from the Izod to the J & L yellow parking section,s I noticed a few things that made my heart sank as a Jets fan and tailgating analyst (made up title, I know).

The fisrt thing that was not just obvious, but rampant was the garbage left in the lots after tailgating.  I am not talking about after the game, I am talking about after tailgating leading into kick off.  It was disgusting.  Empty bottles strewn, half filled garbage bags left to collapse, and half eaten food noticeably in the lane of traffic.

One tailgate in L5 even left their entire set up available to all.  Not just some sandwiches left on the table, but an open van, DJ equipment, speakers, a popcorn machine,  and more just left unattended as if to say “take me”.

Now there was a tailgate across from the unattended one that was watching the game from their tailgate.  But it is not their responsibility to watch over another tailgates gear.  Either clean up or do not set up.
DSC06946
Now I know a good portion of the port-a-potty’s have been taken away, that does not mean one should relieve themselves in the parking lot between cars.  Have more class than that.  Either use a port-a-john or head to the weeds/brush.  You make yourself and others around you look classless.

When the PSL’s were first offered, a large fall off of season ticket holders did not carry over to MetLife Stadium.  Many of these ticket holders could trace their ticket roots to the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  A wave of younger, more active, social conscious tailgater came to the forefront.

A few of the tailgates we passed seemed to keep partying going from the night before in Hoboken.  Complete with music pushed to eleven and dancing.  Now I can understand loud music to get ready for a game.  Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, AC/DC,  and other music like that.  I just can’t see club music as the style to motivate warriors.

DSC_1583

L7 sets up fast and cleans up faster

My wife en pointed out one or two that couldn’t hold it together.  One guy couldn’t be considerate and hold a girls hair so she does not get vomit on it.  Not a true gentleman.  Tailgating before a game should not have to get to that point.
No one is saying to not crank it up and have a blast.  Just do it in a way that does not draw unwanted attention to yourself & your friends.  The Jets have a proud tradition of loyalty from their fans.  Many still remember the days of the Titans at the Polo Grounds.

Tailgating has been about a ritual of great food, friends, and brew to drive us crazy for an upcoming battle.  If it was meant to bring the club to the parking lot complete with annoying music, binge drinking, & certain fans who really seem to be there for the party and not for the game, then the winds of change barely made a faint wisp.

One was able to notice a change in the tailgating climate once Giants Stadium fell.  Many that I knew and had been to for my documentary did not make the change.  Their tickets or seats purchased by a younger ticket holder.  The new element that has taken over the transition of tailgating in the color coded lots.

The socially connected fan who remains wired, in network, ,or addicted to wi-fi in any situation.  Tweeting by the minute or Instagraming a picture, booty shaking on the trailer.  I can remember when tailgating was about tailgating.

Go, have a great time, make some new friends, and feast away.  Just act accordingly and don’t give a reason to bring forth unwanted attention to you and others around you.  Personally, why would one want to give other fans a reason to speak worse about them than they already do.

Tomorrow night the Jets take on the 4-0 Houston TexansMonday Night Football games are in prime-time and so are the ans.  Have a tailgate that makes the SportsCenter Top 10, not the Not Top 10.  Even though some of that stuff is funny.  Have others laugh with you, not at you.  Now that’s memorable.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Jets Tailgating Takes Flight Before Any Kick Off

Smell that?

Don’t get closer to your screen, what the hell is that going to do?

But there is a certain aroma, slowly being pulled in all directions by the passing winds.  If you concentrate hard enough, focus your senses, and tune in your palate you might be able to solve the quandary of what that is making you salivate more than a bulldog with a t bone steak.

DSC06894It is called opening day tailgating.  The central focus for many Jets fans hours before the opening kick off.  Some can sense the anticipation in the air and draw their energy from it for the day.

For some, adrenaline is what keeps them going from the moment they load their car until they get home.  Many draw their energy from their friends and other fans tailgating around them.  For the rest, they get it from 5 Hour Energy.

Anticipation builds each day like an internal fire.  It grows and grows until there is no containing it anymore.  At some point, opening day has to come to release the energy that has been building for weeks.  Energy that not only creates a spectacle for tailgating, but to assist the Jets from the stands towards a victory.

From burgers to brauts, steak to shrimp, and beer to…..beer, Jets fans can not wait until Sunday.  Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media application and some currently in development are being jammed with Jets fans eager to get the season started.

DSC07183Some tailgating groups use social media to not just set up their tailgate but to attract new tailgaters to their pack.  The L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter and continues to grow with new members who only meet eight times a year.  More if there will ever be a home playoff.

Many from L7 meet in the off season and tweet on to be great friends.  It shows that distance and eight games will not stop those who feel the need to have that tailgate feeling all year.

I have walked from one end of the stadium parking to the other.  I even ventured over Route 120 and still made it back to the L5 tailgate in time for kick off.  Iver that distance, I have sampled my fair share of tailgating cuisine, Blacktop BBQ, and assorted Jets themed drinks.

DSC07192That first game of the season has a certain feel to it.  Fans wait over eight months to come out of hibernation and seek out pigskin glory.  Take this two ways.  Glory for the team winning on the field and having winning flavorful, tender ribs off the field.

The excitement for the battle in the stadium builds throughout tailgating.  The tension is so thick one can cut it with a Jets flag.  Random J-E-T-S chants, whistles, and all sorts of inspirational celebrating is done to help inspire the 13th man.

We gather like warriors, celebrating our bravest who fight for their faithful followers on the gridiron.  We rejoice with plenty of meat, brew, and pride before watching our green and white gladiators battle before our eyes.  Praying they return to us with a victory.

Every Jets fan feels that excitement.  That this year will be different from the last.  That not only will Gang Green return to the AFC Championship, but to the Super Bowl this time.  Opening day tailgating bring about that excitement more than any other home game.

DSC06932Tailgating is about friends and family.  It gives us time to see those we do not normally see.  To share stories of battles gone by to younger generations.  We bring new members into the circle to spread the word on how damn great our tailgate is.  These are the moments we cherish because it makes us smile in a way only those in attendance can understand.

Every man who can flip a burger or time a steak right has another moment to prove they are the Baron of BBQ, the General of grilling, or the culinary charcoal genius that makes everyone salivate when they see you preparing the days feast.  But behind every great man is a woman muttering under her breath so faint only the grill man can hear.

Laugh or roll your eyes all you want men, we know it to be true.  Doesn’t mean  we listen, but it is true.

So as you prepare to make whatever trek you have to take to get the the Meadowlands, keep the faith.  As tomorrow only starts the first of eight battles on our home turf.  Have the strength to tailgate on even n the face of a losing season.

That is what makes true Jet fans have the best stories to tell to the ones we plan on leaving our season tickets to.

2012 Season Preparation Begins For Jets & Their Fans

Over the past week, training camp began across the NFL.  The Jets reported to training camp with more questions than answers.  Even though the Jets will not be on Hard Knocks there is always enough drama and media following around Gang Green.  Just turn on SportsCenter.

From the release of information regarding locker room issues to the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow so called “QB controversy”, the cameras will keep rolling through Jets training camp.  Let’s face it, the Jets provide more drama than TNT.

The veterans need to let what happened months ago slide off their back and get down to business.  If Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, and the other starters want to look ahead to the 2012 season, they need to forget about how the 2011 season ended.  The incoming rookies need to be led by the veterans example and act as a cohesive unit.

But as much prep work the Jets need to do, so do the fans.  Why should fans do prep work?  What could possibly be so important that fans need to do prep work for the 2012 season.

It’s called tailgating.

Majority of you are probably thinking all one has to do is pack food, beer, and a grill.  Then drive to the stadium, find a spot, set up and enjoy.

Sure, for the basic one timer this is a great idea.  But to the experienced season ticket holder who makes a day of tailgating, there are many steps taken for the quintessential tailgating experience.

Before MetLife Stadium & parking permits, one would be able to arrive as early as they wanted to.  At the old Giants Stadium, my wife Gina & I would get there as early as 7 AM before a 1 PM game.  A few others would arrive before us.  We made a day of it, breakfast and lunch before the game.  Everything packed the night before and finding a prime spot the next day.

The best part about arriving at least 6 hours before kickoff was that there were no employees at the entry gates.  One could drive to their stated parking destination and not pay $20.

I am 37 and I talk about 5 years ago as if I was referring to 1943.  Like technology, everything seems to be moving faster these days.

Some groups already established like L7 Tailgate, Dave Fier and the group at L5, and “Flagman” Frank Conway staked their clam the minute they were first allowed into the newly established MetLife lots.  They get there early enough to the same location to ensure there is room needed to support their tailgating experience for everyone involved.

MetLife Stadium is set up  according to your parking permit.  The more you pay for it according to its list price, the closer to the stadium you are.  This could play a factor in your tailgating.  The farther you are, the earlier you may have to end your tailgate.

This is why the Jets have preseason games, to work out the kinks before the season starts.  Same should go for those wanting the best tailgating experience during the season.

First off, not many die hard season ticket holders attend preseason games.  One could go and scout every location needed.  To go from colored lot to colored lot is not easy, but it can be done.  Attend one or two preseason games and you will find your prime spot for the season.

Here is a layout of the MetLife Stadium parking situation
Parking lot B was formerly a non PSL parking area.  In 2011, it was converted to yellow PSL parking.

By viewing the map, the areas that fill up first are the outlined black areas in each parking section.  Look at is as real estate while tailgating.  You can have a small plot to host a tailgate and not have to compete with drivers looking for a place to park.

Many campers, diesel trucks, and u-hauls tailgate on the “outer rim”(Star Wars reference).  “Flagman” Frank Conway has room to fly his 546 flags this way.  If there is a section of concrete or grass that can be occupied, those will go first.

Next to go are the parking lot lights with the lot location on it.  Hence the L7 Tailgate and Dave Fier with L5.  Get a bunch of friends to park side by side and in some cases, on the opposite side as well to have a central hub for tailgating.  Some of the guys at L5 have a fun and entertaining way to mock the opposing team each game day as someone drives through their tailgate.

Once the outside rim and the lot markers are gone it all spreads out from there.  The prime spots are usually gone in about an hour.  This is why many line up at least 1-2 hours before the gates are opened.  They know by waiting, even for that long, you can guarantee yourself a prime location.

Relax, one does not have to line up as early as fans did to watch Peyton Manning practice for the first time with the Denver Broncos.

Just keep in mind the larger your tailgate, the earlier you want to arrive to secure a spot that can hold not just all the people, but what everyone brings with them.  So act like Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

August is a great time to get those needed essentials for tailgating.  Many stores view August as the end of summer.  So many tailgating essentials for grilling or barbecuing will be available for a discount.  One can find coolers, utensils, charcoal towers, certain portable grills, and more for prices lower than some expect.  Stores would rather sell them for a deep discount than not sell them at all.

One item that is an essential for any tailgate is a pop up tent.  They come 10′x10′ standard and usually start around $95.  It comes it handier than an umbrella in rainy situations.  Keep your grill and food dry so your tailgate can continue in any weather.  Many put them over the back of their car so friends always have a dry place to stand.  Trust me, if it rains and you do not have one, you will wish you did.

Other items like chairs, tables, flags, inflatables, air horns, fire pits, flat screen TV’s, satellite dishes, couches, end tables, or whatever else makes your tailgate a memorable one is up to you.  I provide the basics.

Maybe a future article will focus on the more extravagant and stranger tailgates out there.  I have pictures on some and they will definitely make you laugh.

One could use the above guidelines for either the Jets or Giants home games.  The parking doesn’t change.  Only the fans tailgating.

Overcoming Obstacles Before The Warrior Dash

For a few days now I have been pondering what to type up next.  Not much Jets news besides Wilkerson’s crash and the usual Sanchez/Tebow drama.  Training camp begins soon.  I assume the drama will start up soon.

I am not going to be working on my Jets documentary forever.  It led to me covering the fans and giving them their chance to shine when no one else really does.  Not just on video but in print.  But there  is more going on to talk about than just the New York Jets and it is time I branched out and started to write about many other topics.

Let’s face it, diversity is key.  Need some variety here.  The Bakery is getting stale with the same old topics.  It needs to be freshened up with some new topics and coverage.  And maybe some more about myself, what I am doing, and what I have been through.

What better way to start than to talk about my foray into the Warrior Dash this Saturday.

What is the Warrior Dash you ask?  Check their website at Warrior Dash.  I can not be bothered talking about it so find out for yourself.

Just kidding.

The Warrior Dash, the World’s Largest Running Series,  is a 3.20 mile long course made up of 14 “hellish” obstacles.  They take place on off terrain paths, in water, over walls, in mud, over fire, and many other obstacles.  There are 45+ races in the United States every year and also Australia.

Some of the obstacles change from course to course, depending on the environment.  This is the first time Warrior Dash is in New Jersey.  It is being held at Lewis Morris County Park in Morristown, NJ and this is my first time running in this event.

Even the walking I would do filming at a Jets game is not enough cardio for an event like this.  I would begin by parking at the Sheraton on the other side of Route 3.  Then with some maneuvering, use a NJ Turnpike exit bridge to the stadium to cross the highway.  Then  walk from one end of MetLife Stadium parking to the other side, and back again.  Even over to the Izod Center and everywhere in between.

I have been training for this since March considering I have not been in a gym for about six years.  So I knew I had to dedicate time and energy to make sure I could at least finish the event.  The Warrior Dash website does outline certain training routines for different skill sets.  I am glad I trained beyond what they recommend.

The event begins at 9 AM.  The first 500 warriors will line up for their dash through hell.  Then in 30 minute intervals, waves of 500 Warriors will line up for their opportunity.  I line up for my chance at 1:30 PM.

You can track my start of the event and when I finish on Facebook or Twitter.  Pictures will also be posted by Warrior Dash’s in house photographers as well as race day updates by myself.

As I write this my mother sends me an e-mail saying she just read what the Warrior Dash involves.  Then she asked if I was crazy.

I responded yes.

The race does involve and obstacle where one has to jump over a wall of flame.  It is just a line of Duraflame logs.  To get an more in depth review of Warrior Dash and other running series like Spartan Run, Rebel Race, Tough Mudder, and others go to Travelete.com.

I bring that up because some obstacles seem worse than they sound.  They do not want it to be impossible where only few finish.  That is the Tough Mudder, (recognize my sarcasm yet?).

If there is someone struggling, others have been know to provide assistance on the course.  Many do act like sportsmen and want to see others overcome and finish.  You can sign up as a group  as well and run with your friends.

To me, the Warrior Dash is just another physical activity I enjoy putting my body through.  I know a few may not like to hear that, but I enjoy doing extreme activities.  I wrestled professionally for about 13 years (mostly on weekends), bungee jumped, went to Mountain Creek when it was Action (Traction) Park, played tons of sports when I was younger, and just enjoy a great challenge.

When it came to physical activities when I was younger, I was lucky to do what I did.  My vision provided some, not major, limitations in activities my parents would let me do.  Football was out.  The one sport I wish I had played in my life.

At the age of 10 in 1984, wrestling was the one sport I stayed with.  Did not give it up.  Loved to wrestle.  In eighth grade, I went through the season undefeated in the heavyweight weight class (149-275 lb, I weighed 163) and took first place in two county tournaments.   was able to climb the ropes in gym class using just my arms.  My sophomore year in high school I made varsity at 189 lbs.

I held my head just a little higher after making varsity after years of being teased, bullied, and made to feel insignificant by my peers.  To many, it didn’t matter and some teasing continued, even from some of my teammates.

But it never stopped me from quitting wrestling or anything I did.  I persevered though it.  I have always had this mentality that I can do anything I put my mind to, no matter what my limitations are in life.  I never like to hear the word “NO” or “you can’t do that”.

My attitude is “Yes” and “watch me”.

That was until some news I received over the summer of 1991.  I noticed a change in vision.  I had to visit a specialist in New York because my condition could not be diagnosed by my specialist in New Jersey.

I was attended to by one of the three leading specialists in the world regarding my vision issue.  I underwent three and a half hours of testing to determine what my vision issues were.

It was determined I had subretnal neovascularization with pathological myopia.  Say that three times fast.

I can.

To sum up the condition, imagine looking through two scars on your eyes everyday.  You can see, but not perfectly and with some vision loss.  That is me.  Doctors told me no more wrestling.

I was devastated.  I cried for a long time on that one.

At the age I was diagnosed, I was informed my condition occurs in one out of three million my age.  It is a form of wet macular degeneration that normally happens to people in their 60′s and 70′s.

I was officially a winner in the unlucky lottery.

If I strained the blood vessels in my eyes significantly it could increase the scarring from blood leakage behind the eye.  This was what the doctors were worried about and advised me not to wrestle or do any extraneous physical activities.

So, for my final two seasons on the wrestling team I was the team manager and recorded all the wrestlers matches.  My senior year I was an assistant freshman wrestling coach.  I had good knowledge, what can I say.

Yes, I know I had on a sweater.

But after high school I went into professional wrestling.  Yes, I know I was told not to wrestle but I did it anyway.

It was what I wanted to do and I was not going to let anyone tell me otherwise.  I miss the physicality.  I enjoyed hitting and being hit.  Not too hard of course.  But I enjoyed it.  I love putting my body out there.  The adrenaline rush makes me smile.  If I could have gone into MMA instead of wrestling,  I would have.

For years I wrestled and did other physical activities, including weight lifting, with no other damage any doctor can make out.  I have been in the clear.  I have always said every time I go out there and do something I risk the odds.

Odds makers in Las Vegas have gone broke betting on me.  I am pretty good with numbers.  I can figure rough odds playing poker.

Knowing my limitations and abilities does keep me a step ahead.  If I need to pull the plug on something or realize a limitation.  I will stop with no hesitation.  I may be crazy, but I am not stupid.

I am a very headstrong, determined individual.  When I set my mind to something, I set to accomplish what I start.  I went headfirst into filming a documentary and learned on the fly about film making.  Major thanks to Anthony Artis and others on their guidance.

The Hardcore Champion. Retired undefeated with the belt. I still have it!

The Warrior Dash is just another challenge I KNOW I can accomplish.  If you don’t challenge yourself you will never know what you are able to accomplish.  One can never realize their full potential.

I never want to look back and say I never tried.  It is better to attempt and fail, than to not try at all.  OK, so someone may have said that before me but it works well here (Thanks Ant!).

I keep repeating a scene from the movie “Rocky Balboa” in my head.  Rocky tells Rocky Jr. that it is not about how hard you get hit it is about how hard you come back from that hit.  That no matter how much you feel you are being hit further down you fight back that much harder.

Hey, draw inspiration from whatever adrenaline boosting IV you can get it from.  As long as you do something about it.

I am dedicating my race on Saturday to two groups.  For those visually impaired, who can see and do more than their limitations let them.  Also,  for those younger who need the confidence to fight back and overcome obstacles & realize their full potential.  I am not sure if there is a non-profit or .org for that one.

I think the obstacles I’ve faced in life have set me up well mentally for the obstacles at the Warrior Dash.  Glad I was able to get my body physically capable as well.

I know the Warrior Dash is going to be fun.  Another event in the long line of physical activities I decided to sacrifice my body to.  I know I am going to hate the cardio in between the obstacles.  I hate doing cardio, but a necessary evil.  It is the obstacles I am looking forward to the most.  Getting down and dirty, using my hands, climbing ropes, jumping over walls, stopping speeding bullets.

OK, I got carried away.

I plan on doing one of these events a year.  My wife Gina wanted me to do the Super Spartan Race in September as well.  No way I am ready for an 8 mile race.  But for my 40th birthday, I do plan on running the Tough Mudder.

Here comes another e-mail from my mother.

Jets Lower Ticket Prices; Fans Hope To Raise Expectations

It has been a while since I actually sat down to write.  Had some distractions that interfered with the creative flow.  So I guess I needed a mental vacation.  An opportunity to dump the mental waste and fill it with fresh thoughts that makes me want to sit, down and make this seem seamless.

For a while there I felt robotic, pushing myself to churn out something I felt had no heart behind it.

Sometimes it takes a wave.  To fully reach its potential with a lot of mass, force and power behind it.  But to be the one to ride that wave, derive its energy and untapped potential.  Riding that wave to mastery.  Those are the best writers.  The ones who take that untapped potential and ride that wave past the crest.

Once I read the Jets had lowered ticket prices in the upper deck, I knew I had a reason to sit down just to get back up on my soap box.  For the few that gather, it just makes sense.

Apparently, the New York Jets are lowering the price of some 12,000 upper tier seats at MetLife Stadium for the 2012 season.

Jets President Neil Glat said that seats in the end zone, corners and some along the sidelines that cut in from the corners will drop in price for next season.  The seats farthest from the 50 yard line are generally the ones least sought after.  With many not wanting to sit next to the clouds this is another opportunity to make the upper deck attractive.

The last seven rows of four sections of sideline seats will fall from $105 per game to either $75 or $50, depending on the row. Those in the corners and in the end zone will drop from $95 to either $75 in six rows or $50 for the last seven rows.

DSC05962The upper deck has been a hard sell to Jets fans.  Even with single game seats the transportation alternatives and costs could add up.  Even a day at the game is not cheap for some in a down economy still.  A reason I am sure the Jets took into consideration when lowering ticket prices.

“After taking a hard look and having analyzed the 300 level, we are going to adjust the price,” Glat said. “We think we can do better in that area for our fans. The goal is to ensure that we have a lot of season ticket holders up there.”

I think their hard look came from ticket sales to date.  I am sure they see less being taken in the non PSL region.  A down economy and unemployment will be two reasons the team will not acknowledge often.  They have before, it would be a relief if thy would do it again.

Saying what they did was a more PC way of acknowledging the reasons without saying them, but we all know.

Jets fans will be able to purchase a season ticket for as little as $500, including two preseason games.  A parking permit could cost a few hundred for the season so add that into consideration.

“This was not an issue about worrying about getting games on TV,” Glat said, “but what is the right price for the value for the fans. And there’s really an emphasis in the NFL on season ticket holders, the lifeblood of the league.”

But wait, there is more dangling off the hook of being a 300-level Season Ticket Holder:

  • Great savings off the individual game ticket price (duh)
  • Special concessions offers including $3 value menu snack items (dollar dog)
  • Meet & greets with two Jets Alumni before every home game (ones who are there anyway like Greg Buttle & Joe Klecko)
  • Complimentary team roster cards located on the 300-level concourse (low cost printing)

I can see how this could be attractive to some who want to get their kids to a few games, give them some perks and not be tied to a PSL.

It may encourage those already in the upper deck to spread their claim to more seats.  I see this working well with younger fans but not the older fans.  It would take an effort and a few elevators to get up there and not an attractive option.

JetsBlog2I bring that up because a lot of older fans, the season ticket holders who had seats for more years than some current PSL holders have been alive, might like the prices slashes.  But they may not like the seats location and the journey it takes to get to the top of the Roman Coliseum.

I admire those long time season ticket holders for not going to the new stadium.  They knew when to say when.  When to make a new experience away from the new American Dream MetLife Mall that will soon exist.

Now a football Sunday can start with tailgating and commerce.  Players can go from a personal appearance in one facility right into the lockers before a game in the other.

With all the bonus features, v.i.p. sections ,and coaches club attractions in MetLife Stadium is football even a feature attraction?

The days of tailgating before the game, going to the game, then leaving will soon be a memory faster than Derrick Mason.

I am old school, I guess.  Football Sunday is meant for football and tailgating, that’s it.  Men need a day for themselves during the week to focus on football, it’s in a long standing rule book somewhere..  Look it up.  Maybe Wikipedia.

Those fans who saw the rise of the Titans of New York and early Jets years made a lot of sacrifices.  They came out before the games when they could.  They paid their dues.  Many never step foot in the new stadium.  For most of them, the magic was gone.

Not in the team, but in the way they experienced their football on Sunday.  Not just the extra entertainment but also in the way of portable devices, I-phones, and everything else that takes one’s attention off the game they paid to see.

DSC07225The Jet Nuts, Jets Pack, and many other long standing tailgating groups did not want to keep up with the costs.  Many said no to the ever changing price structures.  The Jets have not kept a single cost the same on both the tickets & PSL’s since they were first announced for MetLife Stadium.

When one overprices in a down economy, you have to make constant shifts.  For every step ahead they take with trying to lure fans to buy tickets, they take two steps back each time they change their price structure.

Many don’t mind.  They will take whatever price structure they can get just to be able to say they have New York Jets season tickets.  It has become a possession of status to some.  Trying to prove they are a bigger fan than others.

But no matter how you watch Mark Sanchez, Darelle Revis, and now Tim Tebow, we are all fans.  Opinions will vary between Jets fans on the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB controversy.  Spend as much as you want either viewing from home or the most luxurious seats in MetLife Stadium.  The organization only knows you from one perspective.

As a consumer.