Second: Joe Namath
When the camera panned on Joe with his trademark grin and gorgeous fur coat, my heart fluttered. Never mind that Joe threw an interception (aka coin toss jitters), he’s still my football hero.
Joe Namath was my serious teenage crush. I don’t remember when he first came across my radar screen, but he captured my heart (ok, lust). He was brash, athletic, mischievous, studly, and had a mega-watt smile. He could even make those god-awful New York Jets’ white football boots look almost manly.
I made a Joe Namath collage for my bedroom. You can only appreciate the depth of my devotion to Joe by understanding the magnitude of that sentence.
I shared a bedroom with my sister; a room decorated by my mother who chose yellow-flowered wall paper and green carpet, two of my least favorite colors. There was no “me” in that room. We didn’t “self-express” in the 60’s, at least not in our household. Moreover, we were also without today’s technology whereby I could quickly access multiple pictures of Joe. No, I had to patiently and painstakingly thumb through the daily sports section or Dad’s monthly Sports Illustrated, hoping I’d find another elusive picture for my collage.
I have no recollection of the day I hung the collage or the reaction from my parents or sister, but I sure remember that over-shellacked, warped cardboard collage with Joe smiling down on me.
And I will never forget Super Bowl III on January 12, 1969. For weeks Joe had been predicting, nay GUARANTEEING, the Jets would trounce the Baltimore Colts. The sportscasters were aghast and dismissive of this reckless, cocky upstart of a quarterback. There was even some grumbling from Dad before the game.
But I knew ….without a shadow of a doubt…I KNEW Joe was right. He was going to win.
I’ve never been certain of an outcome in a sports contest since. But that day Joe believed in himself, and I believed in Joe.
Together we made magic.