A while back I asked you to write essays about why you became a New York Giants' fan, particularly as it relates to your family. I promised at the time that the best of those would appear in the Maple Street Press 2010 Giants Annual which will hit newsstands next month.
I also promised that quality essays not used in the magazine would find space here at Big Blue View. Well, there was only room for two essays in the upcoming magazine. Frank Campagnola and John Acquavita (screen name Tony Manero) will have their essays in next month's Giants Annual.
There were, however, lots of good essays. It is time for me to keep that promise, and start publishing some of that work. During the course of the next few days I will publish several of the essays I received. The piece below comes from Patrick Feury, known at BBV as 'pjhimself.'
I grew up in the Bronx so it was certainly natural that I’d be a Giants fan. But in my case, there’s a little more to it. I think the thing that "personalized" my fanaticism for the team was the experience of being within walking distance of where the team played and lived, and actually getting to see these "heroes" up close and personal. They were real and gentlemen and some of those experiences just stayed with me.
Me and my buddies would just wander over to the stadium to get autographs and just meet the players. We discovered that some of the players stayed at the Concourse Plaza just up the street. We’d head up there for autographs and whatever else we could come up with. One time we invaded the hotel, looking for our heroes. We rode the elevators, knocked on doors and did just what kids might do – no trouble - just autographs.
Two incidents are clear in my memory. First, on one of our elevator rides, we punched all the buttons (as kids are wont to do) and when we stopped at one of the floors, Pat Summerall got on. He quickly spotted all the lighted buttons but didn’t make a scene. He just engaged us and even gave us his autograph. (He may have uttered a few choice words after getting off, but we never heard.). The other happened after knocking on however many doors, a woman answered and invited us in. Into the home of Frank Gifford. We sat in their living room and chatted for a bit (who knows for how long or what about) but it’s not something a whole lot of kids get to do with their idols. (In later years, I always wondered if we interrupted a hangover nap.)
My dad was a NYC patrolman, and he snuck me into the stadium for games towards seasons end. Here again, I have two clear (OK memory doesn’t always work so well these days) recollections which will never leave my brain.The first was a Giants – Browns game in 1959 when the Giants just owned the game and won 48-7. The fans got so rowdy that they/we overran the field and caused a stoppage in play. I worked my way onto the field during the chaos (like most everyone else), and memory says I stood next to the great Jim Brown. (I admit this specific memory may be more wishful thinking but I do remember how big these guys were.)
The other was watching this invisible/miniature person emerging from the huddle of much larger men, and throwing footballs as far as any other pro quarterback I’d ever seen. He led those Dallas Cowboys to their only tie in their inaugural 1960 – Eddie LaBaron.
They may have been heroes, but they were also people, and they treated me (and my friends) the same.
How could I not be a lifetime fan. I hosted my first (after my divorce) Super Bowl party for the first Giants appearance there. (It’s actually a bit longer story but….).
I now live in North Carolina and sure enough, Eli delivered my first Giants Super Bowl victory here (in my first year in NC). I’ll always be a fan of "Big Blue".