53 Years Ago Today I Learned A Hard (And Costly) Lesson
January 12th will always hold special significance for me because it’s the anniversary of my darkest day as a sports fan. The year was 1969, just a couple of weeks before my 13th birthday. I was an 8th grader at Central Regional and a diehard fan of the Baltimore Colts…a football team that doesn’t even exist any longer.
The Colts had ridden roughshod over their opponents that season going 13-1 and winning the then NFL Championship 34-0 over the Cleveland Browns. Their reward was a date with the New York Jets in Super Bowl III in Miami. Many of my friends had become Jets fans because of quarterback Joe Namath and the game was billed as a meeting of the old establishment against the young upstarts.
My beloved Colts were huge 18-point favorites and despite being 12 years old with no real money I bet with what seemed like all my classmates and laid the points because I expected a rout. I even wagered with a few of my teachers and while most of the bets were a dollar or two but there were a couple of BIG $5.00 ones.
I learned a good lesson that day. There are no “sure things” as the Jets shocked the world with a 16-7 win in their one and only Super Bowl appearance. I was sick while watching the game and afterwards tried to convince my mother that I needed to stay home from school the next day…which she was not buying. From the time I got on the bus in Seaside Heights until the end of the day I was tormented and had no choice but to take it. I also had to beg for time in paying off all those dollar bets…I think it took me until the summer.
January 12, 1969. Still can’t believe the Colts lost that game.
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