When I was a youngster growing up in Hollis, Queens, the Giants were a bad football team. I knew this because every Sunday, my dad would have spittle-laced tirades aimed at the television set, sending a toddler NYC_Native crying to his mother, wondering why Daddy seemingly wanted to kill someone.
I didn't see "The Fumble" when it happened. But I heard it. As did everyone within a three-mile radius of our house in Queens.
Of course I grew up to become a big Giants fan myself. But we never went to any games back then. It made sense - in the late '70s and early '80s Giants tickets were hard to come by and I had three brothers and a sister so that meant a very expensive day at the stadium.
Finally in 1996, when I was living in North Carolina and tickets to the Panthers were not locked up for season ticket holders, I talked my dad and brother - both who lived in Washington, DC at the time - to pony up for tickets that I would purchase at the Ticketmaster outlet in a local grocery store.
We lost that game. But we were supposed to. We were a six-win team about to fire Dan Reeves playing a team that would win 12 games and their division.
But it didn't matter. It didn't matter that the seats were so bad we were closer to the blimp (it was Carolina's first prime time game; everyone had Chris Berman masks given to them by the team to commemorate the occasion). I got to watch a Giants game with my dad.
It was the not just the first game, it was the start of what became a family tradition: We would attend one game per year together (at least). Dad made it to most of them as did my one brother who was as much of a Giant fan as I was.
When we all lived in different places, we went to road games. We saw several games in Washington since my dad and brother lived there (1998, 2003, 2012). They came out west when I was in Ohio for games in Tennessee (1997, 2006) and Indianapolis (2002).
I never missed at least on game per year (and I attended two a couple of seasons) since that first game in 1996 and most of the time I had one or both of them with me. And my wife has been with me to all of them since I dragged her Tennessee with us in 2006.
Overall I have seen 19 regular season games (we are 11-8 in them), two preseason tilts and one playoff game (we will not speak of it). The last game my dad saw with me was in 2007 when we beat the 49ers. Dad and I celebrated that year's Super Bowl run on the phone. We had tickets to the same foe the next year in hand when my dad passed away. My dad's last Giants season was a Super Bowl.
Anyway, there are a lot of emotions for me. But this year is just so... horrific.
I have seen bad teams before (the 2003 Giants won only 4 games - but I saw 25% of them since we beat the Redskins in overtime!) but I have never been quite as depressed with the team as I am this year. My attitude is that if they won't bother showing up, why should I?
I am not a wealthy man. It costs at least a hundred bucks a seat to go and I take my wife (who I turned into both a football and Giant fan) and there's gas and tolls and concessions and since we attend games in East Rutherford now for the most part, there's the trip to Manhattan or Brooklyn for some quality food. Overall, a Giants trip will always set me back no less than $500 which is not chump change for me.
So on one hand, I have a tradition that I would break.
On the other hand, I am disgusted with this year's team and attending a game almost makes me feel like I am condoning their ineptitude.
So what should I do? Attend a game (I had my sights set on the Raider game since it is likely a cheaper/easier ticket to get plus it's an opponent we might actually have a chance of defeating) and keep the streak alive even though it will be costly and possibly depressing? Or make a moral and financial stance that breaks my streak?