When I look back on my childhood, an ongoing theme for my family was the New York Giants. Both of my parents were loyal fans of both the NFL and specifically, the New York Giants. Growing up, I was convinced that I was the only girl in town that watched football each Sunday.
My family loved the Giants so much; they almost treated it like a religion. I was only seven years old in 1976, when the Meadowlands opened and the new Giant Stadium was complete. My father had a friend who scored four season tickets to the new stadium and our family bought two of those tickets each week. We had these tickets from 1976 to 1990.
Back then there were no Disney Channel pop stars (Hannah Montana) or personal video systems (a.k.a. Nintendo DS) to divert my attention from football. We also only had one television in the house, so my heroes eventually became the football heroes. The big stars in my house were legendary New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, linebacker Lawrence Taylor (affectionately known to Giants fans as LT), and the Super Bowl winning coach for many years, Bill Parcells.
When I was only 8 years old, I started to attend Giants games with my father. This was the era before global warming and I remember freezing at the stadium, no matter how warmly I dressed. Looking back now, the games were a family bonding experience. For some games, my family would have all four tickets and my dad would take me, and my sister or my brother. We would all take turns. On many occasions, mom would also attend.
The seats were incredible. We had second row end zone seats that were so close, you could see the players’ faces when a touch down was about to be scored. There were two humorous and friendly men who owned season tickets for the seats in front of us. These men never wore their jackets and always had drinks in their hands. I didn’t realize at the time that they were drunk each week.
At the half time, my sister and I would run to the ladies room to stuff toilet paper in our shoes to keep our feet warm, as it felt like our feet were affected by frostbite. We always enjoyed ourselves at the games and recapped the game highlights in the car on the way home. It was a great way to bond with our parents.
Football season was an intense time for our household. All week, my parents would read the sports section in the newspaper trying to figure out if certain player’s injuries would heal in time for Sunday, or if the weather would hold out for the upcoming home game.
Unfortunately, NFL bye weeks didn’t start until 1990, when I was in college. Without a bye week, I would never have a break from football Sundays in my house. The upside was that it was empowering being a girl and being able to converse with boys about safeties, field goals, touchdowns, first downs, and the players’ records.
In the off season, we still supported our New York Giants. If a Giants player opened a local restaurant or was going to be signing autographs somewhere, we would make an effort to attend. I remember dining frequently at Lawrence Taylor’s restaurant, “LT’s”, which was located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the same town that Giants Stadium is in. I think my parents were hoping to see him there.
I am now married to a wonderful husband who is not an obsessed football fan. In the fall, we take the family on day trip outings on football Sundays and we don’t listen to the Giants game in car when we’re driving to our destination. If the Giants make it to the Super Bowl, we are loyal fans and watch the game. We have a balanced life and that’s fine with me.