Mordini: Due credit given to the Garden State

Jessie Markovetz

On the way to class last week, a friend of mine told me he’d heard this great joke about New Jersey that he had to tell me. “It was in Playboy, so you know it’s good,” were his exact words.

Long story short, it was about “the smell” – the often-complained-about odor that supposedly wraps itself around the state and chokes man and beast alike to death, kind of like the one that permeates through the Quad, but without the roaches.

My home state is far from perfect. In fact, it has two major problems; in no particular order those problems are New York and Pennsylvania. But there are many appealing aspects to life in Jersey that one simply can’t find in the Keystone State, such as winning sports teams. For instance, in New Jersey, the phrase “fourth and 26” actually means, “Thank God that, for another eight months, I don’t have to hear that stupid chant where the fans spell out the name of the team like a pack of first graders at a spelling bee.”

Not that Jersey’s own football teams have fared well recently. The Jets and Giants, who both play in New Jersey, in a stadium paid for by taxes collected in New Jersey, in front of crowds who live in New Jersey, each pretend they are from New York. Because of this, their records this season were a combined 10-22. But at least Rush Limbaugh, whose name can be rearranged to spell Sir Hal Humbug, doesn’t rag on our quarterbacks.

Pennsylvania has so many of its own problems that I find it hard to “poke fun” at the state anymore. The roads are a mess, its citizens have somehow convinced themselves that Lake Erie is a shore and, worst of all, its name rhymes with Transylvania, dromomania and Mauritania. So even though the shoobies continue to exhibit their poor driving ability on our parkway every summer as they clog our shore, I’ll look the other way, because in a way you just have to pity them.

That’s not the case with New York, though. The Big Apple, after years of filling Jersey’s backyards with mobsters and landfills with garbage, is now looking to steal the Nets, the basketball team that has, in the past two years, been as successful as the Eagles, in that they have come very close to winning it all, but then have not. Late last week, the team agreed to sell the squad for $300 million to a Brooklyn developer who eventually wants to relocate the team to the city.

Apparently, the city itself is buying into the Yankees’ motto, which is, “If you have a crappy team and a lot of money, just buy a better team.” After all, at least the Nets have been finalists the past two years. The Knicks have not been seen since the Rockets defeated them in the 1994 finals. No one is even sure if the team still exists anymore, as team owners, in an effort to boost ticket sales, now have holograms of Patrick Ewing and John Starks in place of actual players on the court.

The purchase, and likely eventual move, of the Nets is just Phase II in New York’s grand plan, which is to acquire every team with a name ending in “ets.”

No, seriously, New York City wants to become a sports empire, which is why it is trying to snap up all the available talent. Next on the buying block will be the New Jersey Devils, which have the distinction, unlike any New York or Philadelphia team, of having won their league championship recently.

After it gets the Devils to replace the city’s pathetic Rangers, the Big Apple will have to turn its eye towards the gridiron. Given the lowly track record the city’s teams seem to develop, one can only hope that its watchful eye falls upon the Eagles.

Maybe Limbaugh could play quarterback.