Jets fans need to focus on stoicismDate: June 4, 2019
By: Ronny Castaneda
In a world where any minor mishap can be viewed for the whole world to see, negative and humiliating moments can be scarred into memory forever. For the New York Jets, they are no stranger to such publicity.
Whether it came in the form of false promises made by an animated head coach or having what people hoped to be their franchise quarterback having his career defined by running into his own linemen’s rump, the fan base of the Jets has seen it all. It can sometime be baffling as to how an inconsistent franchise can still manage to fill up MetLife stadium, let alone how their fans still find joy in representing the green and white.
Jets fans have dealt with enough controversy to last an eternity. But, if it gets too much to handle, the ancient philosophy of stoicism might serve as the perfect remedy. First discovered in ancient Greece, the popularized in ancient Rome, stoicism is lightly described as finding calmness, patience and resilience in a world where danger, apprehension and the raw emotion our desires have spew out can creep up on us any day of the week.
So how can this help weary and tired Jets fans? Simple. Some basic principles of stoicism are the perfect medicine to numb our minds the lackluster football played in East Rutherford New Jersey.
A Basic Stoic principle that can easily be relayed into our lives is to not worry about the past. With that, there is a lot of memory that the organization would like to delete from its hard drive. Whether it’s their back-to-back AFC Championship losses or Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble, the Jets will seemingly never be able to escape such travesties, nor escape the endless jokes we face when defending our beloved green and white.
“It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,” says Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus.
As a Pioneer of stoicism, Epictetus gives us this quote as a stable way to interpret life and everything unpredictable about it. Fellow Stoic, Seneca, also gives us his insight on how we should carry ourselves with the baggage we claim. He says, “To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden."
This off-season has been like no other for the franchise. After signing premier playmakers Le’Veon Bell, C.J Mosely and Jamison Crowder, the Jets went and drafted Quinnen Williams, who has the potential to be the best player to come out of his draft class.
After an up and down season, Sam Darnold emerged late in the season, being the highest graded quarterback (91.3) over the final three weeks of the season. Jamal Adams also emerged as possibly the best safety in the league leading safeties in almost every major statistic. With all these tools at the disposal of new head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, it is easy to get excited and expect a great deal from this team.
Seneca would tell us otherwise, as he says, “The greatest obstacle to living is expectation, which depends on tomorrow and wastes today.”
We’ve grown to become blind the possibility of failure whenever something amazing happens. What we saw the Jets accomplish this off-season mixed with everything else over last season, amazing is an understatement. This has been done before. We’ve seen a team with a rookie mark Sanchez, a veteran LaDainian Tomlinson, stud wide-outs Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards and a prime Darrelle Revis falter, not once, but twice in the conference championship. Not to mention Rex Ryan giving us his best Joe Namath impersonation, guaranteeing a Super bowl.
Jets fans should keep expectations low, low to the point where they grow content with whatever outcome this season produces. The team age averages at about 25 years old, one of the youngest in the league, which still gives the Jets plenty of time to grow and become something they hoped for over the last 50 years.
The last principle of stoicism that can give the Jets and their fanbase a glimmer of hope comes from a pair of Quotes from Epictetus that describe the road ahead for this young team. With Darnold under center, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa as wide outs and Bell in the back field, the Jets have a good portion of the puzzle completed.
That goes with mentioning Adams who orchestrates one of the league’s best young defensive cores, with Leonard Williams and the newly drafted Williams manning the trenches. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, this ranks as one of the youngest in the league with many different areas to improve on.
It is time to get to work and to forget the past. It is time to lower expectations and thrive with what they have. It’s time to forget about those “same old” Jets and let the new wave create a name for themselves.
Ronny Castaneda can be reached at Ronald.firstname.lastname@example.org.