After canceling last year’s practice due to a conflict with a Presidential Debate the Jets have not scheduled a date to come to Long Island at all this year. The Jets held training camp at Hofstra University for 40 years from 1968-2008. Then after the Florham Park facility was built moving their operations base there they then moved up to SUNY Cortland from 2009 to the present. Each year from 2009 to 2012 they scheduled a Family Day at Hofstra to come back and see their Long Island fans the ones who are at the core of the fan base. This year they didn’t and it is wrong.
I was one of the fans who grew up watching the team at training camp each year. From the time I was 9 through adulthood it has always been a tradition for my dad and I to go and see the team for at least one day. Hofstra was terrific because you got so close to the field and if you knew where to sit there was shade under some trees. The closeness to the field was never more helpful then when Bill Parcells coached the team. He would stay by the side that had the fans and talk with us during practice discussing everything and nothing at all. The other part of the fun was trying to see if we could find a breakout star. My dad saw something in Jeff Blake as a 3rd stringer buried on the depth chart that I wish the coaching staff would have because he was a pretty decent quarterback in Cincinnati in the mid nineties. I wish I alone could take credit for Chrebet but everybody there saw his talent.
Now I have a son and want to continue a family tradition. I was able to take my son to Family Night at Hofstra in 2009 and 2010 but it was hard because he was 6 months in 2009 and a year and a half in 2010 and couldn’t understand what the fuss was about just yet. We went up to Cortland in 2011 but it was a long trip for a short practice. Our family will still do our best to get up there every year but the logistics sure aren’t as easy.
These traditions are not just my family’s tradition but was one for a lot of Long Island. Practices were routinely attended by 10,000 or more and you’d run into the same people who you saw last year and the year before that. To not come back for a day to pay tribute to those fans is a bitter pill to swallow. We stick with the team and had hoped they would stick with us.