My Moment of the Year won’t happen until 4 p.m. Sunday, when the 2012 Jets leave the field and disappear into the tunnel forever.
Welcome to the last Weekend Reading of 2012. What a wonderful few months we’ve spent together, waxing philosophic on aliens, cryptids, geo-engineering, and bat plagues. This feature has become one of my favorite activities here at Outside and I hope you all continue to join me for many more of these little fireside insanity chats.
As the year draws to a close, a few other Outside writers and editors have put together some of their favorite Moments of the Year, looking back on people and events that moved them in a special way. If I may, I’d like to share mine with you here. The kind of solo adventure athletes we typically cover here, skiers, BASE jumpers, climbers, and so forth, while amazing in their own right, have never inspired me the way that team sports do. Maybe it’s because outside of something like the Olympics, solo athletes aren’t putting the hopes of a city on their shoulders the way teams do. Their accomplishments are, by and large, just for them. “Good for you,” I say, and no more.
Yes, I’ve always been a fan of team sports. Specifically football. Microcosmically the New York Jets, which brings me to my own Outside Moment of the Year.
At first, I thought I would pick the Jets’ opening day 48-28 blowout victory over the hated Buffalo Bills. But I realized that my Moment of the Year won’t happen until 4 p.m. Sunday, when the 2012 Jets leave the field and disappear into the tunnel forever. That moment will mark the end of an 18-week nightmare that began the moment they took the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers back in September. Since then it’s been a blur of interceptions, fumbles, shanked field goals, injured stars, and inane Tim Tebow talk. The season highlight was the inescapable butt fumble. Mark Sanchez kicking the ball out of the back of his own end zone comes in close second. It’s worth mentioning that only the kicker should kick the ball and Mark Sanchez is the quarterback.
The Bills game was nothing more than a mirage, designed by a cruel god to raise the expectations of Jets fans out of the Bog of Despair before kicking us in the teeth and burning down our houses. When 4 p.m. rolls around Sunday, I’m going to pop a bottle of champagne and walk out into a world no longer tainted by the 2012 New York Jets. My Moment of the Year, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, without further delay, I present your final Weekend Reading of 2012, now with extra crazy sauce!
The story of Jim Baker, a Steelers fan who, in 1972, ended up in possession of possibly the most important piece of memorabilia in football history. Kim Gamble, Grantland.
“Jim Baker was sitting in Box 57 near the 30-yard line that afternoon. He was 26 years old and broke—so broke that to raise the money he needed to start his own insurance business, he'd recently sold his pair of season tickets. He was only at the game because a friend had given him two tickets as a last-minute gift. Just four days prior, Baker's wife, Mary, had given birth to their second son, Sam. He'd brought the baby home from the hospital on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours before the Saturday-afternoon kickoff, and invited his 13-year-old nephew Bobby Pavuchak to see the Steelers play the Raiders in exchange for future babysitting help.”