I staggered to breakfast Tuesday morning at the dumpy Carlstadt Econo Lodge expecting a normal morning where all I had for company was one or two travelers grabbing an early-morning bite to eat and the birds who visit looking for scraps of food that fall to the floor.
What I got when I stepped out of my room, which happened to be adjacent to the breakfast tent (yes, breakfast tent!) was a shock. There was a full house, with people at all of the half-dozen or so tables.
I grabbed my juice, made myself a waffle and looked for a place to sit. I spotted a man wearing a Giants cap sitting alone and figured that was the place to be. So, I joined him. And ended up in a conversation that reminded me why I do what I do here at Big Blue View, and who I do it for.
The man, whose name I won't use because we didn't discuss my writing anything about our conversation, had traveled from Rochester, N.Y. -- which I know is a solid 7-8 hour trek -- with some of his family to watch a couple days of New York Giants training camp.
Probably in his 50s, the man described to me how he had only been to one Giants game in his life. He told me how this trip to the Meadowlands for a couple of days of camp was all he could afford this year. He talked about how, sitting behind the fence in the hastily constructed bleachers that ring the field along the edge of one of the many Meadowlands Sports Complex parking lots, he got goose bumps while watching the Giants perform drills on the field closest to where he was sitting. He talked about how exciting it was to get close to Victor Cruz while the wide receiver was signing some autographs after practice, but shared his disappointment that Cruz has ushered away by Giants' staffers before getting to sign something for his son. He talked about the Giants tattoo one of his sons had gotten.
I do this for a living, to help pay bills and put food on the table. This chat, though, reminded of who is reading what I write and what the Giants mean to so many of you.
I can remember becoming a Giants' fan as a young boy, watching games with my father. Going to games was never an option -- we didn't have the money for that.
My relationship with -- or to -- the Giants is different now. I write about them every day -- multiple times a day in most cases. Big Blue View is, technically, a fan blog. Honestly, I think we have moved beyond that and believe BBV is more of a web site that covers the Giants rather than a 'fan' site, and these days consider myself more reporter/writer/columnist than I do a fan. For me, it has to be that way to deal with players and coaches when I get that opportunity, and to offer credible analysis and opinion that comes from my head and not emotional rantings that come from the heart.
Yet, I will never take for granted the access that I get from the Giants. I will never forget what they mean to so many of you, which this morning's conversation helped to remind me. You can bank on that.
[NOTE: Comment on what I've written here if you like. I think it also might be fun if share some of your 'what the Giants mean to you' or 'how you became a fan' stories.]