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The New York Jets And Me: Using Sports To Get Through Chronic Illness

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I’m not the healthiest person in the world. That’s an understatement, to be honest, as I have Crohn’s Disease and Seizure Disorder. I’ve had ten surgeries, dozens of procedures and have been hospitalized over 30 times. This isn’t a pity party, though, as I am still here and have a beautiful wife, wonderful son and both of my parents are still around.

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I’m also a New York Jets fan. I’ve been a fan since I can remember. The first game I went to was the last game at Shea Stadium for the Jets against the Steelers in 1983. They lost and the fans tore the place up after but I was hooked. From Ken O’Brien to Wesley Walker to Joe Klecko to Al Toon to Adrian Murrell to Rob Moore to Mo Lewis to Marvin Jones to Vinny Testaverde to Wayne Chrebet to John Abraham to Chad Pennington to Laveranues Coles to Darrelle Revis to Mark Sanchez to Geno Smith to Muhammad Wilkerson.

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The best thing about sports is that it is always there and there always is a tomorrow. No matter if the team was 1-15 or 12-4, whether it was in the middle of the season, the playoffs or the offseason there is always something to look forward to and, for me, something to take my mind off of my health. For the three hours of the game and for a lot of the other bad times before I met my wife it was all I had to focus on.

I guess that’s why being a fan is so personal to me. Maybe that’s why I’m less cynical than a lot of fans because I look for hope even when there isn’t a lot there. It helps to be, in some small way, a part of a team. I ride the roller coaster with them, their successes are my successes and their failures mine too. You feel alone sometimes when you have a chronic illness but I’m never alone because I’m a husband, a father and a Jets fan.

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