Living in the tri-state area, one has numerous teams they can devote their loyalty to. As a matter of fact, you can even choose your fandom. You can be either being a die-hard, loyal no matter how many losing seasons, coaching replacements and venue changes your team endures, or follow the winning team. There is always at least one winning NY or NJ team, however, when it comes to writing about such teams, one man… his drive and his voice has exhibited continued loyalty to the Green and White.
Enter Joseph Haas, Jersey City born and raised by parents who emigrated from Ghana, West Africa. His mom knew he had potential to play football and encouraged him to do just that. After a college career of playing and coaching, a brief time overseas, and a job search that took him across the country, Haas settled back in his home state to write, report on, analyze and abstract all things New York Jets (and the world of sports as he sees it). I am privileged to share his story in his own words here:
I feel at home with a pad and pen in hand, or in front of a microphone. My love for sports developed thanks to my Mom, who loved football and soccer! I played tennis in England and fell in love with that sport as well. I remember watching games every Sunday with Mom and my youngest brother… cheering, laughing, and analyzing what each team was doing! When it was time for homework around the kitchen table, my father would always catch me drawing up football plays instead of attacking math problems. Even though I liked to talk and doodle, I was able to skip a grade of elementary school (and with the year in England), I ended up as I always would be, the youngest and smallest in all my classes.
My playing career was short but memorable. My dad wouldn’t let me play as a freshman, telling me I was too young. I was 14, while most were 16 to 17 and much bigger. I spent that summer at NJIT, with the ChIME Program for young scientists. Sophomore year rolled around I tried out for, and made the team, however my Dad didn’t want me to play in order to concentrate on my studies. I was a B student taking advanced science courses, but I wanted to play the game I loved. My Mom pleaded with him, the AD pleaded with him, and finally, my father let me play. Two weeks later, he told me I couldn’t play anymore without giving me a real reason. That was a very contentious year between the both of us.
Next came junior year, and again I tried out for the team, and again I made the team! When my dad found out, of course, he was furious. He forbade me from playing. My Mom told me to go ahead and play anyway. Dad was never home and he wouldn’t find out. Little did I know, my Mother had her own plan. A few weeks into the season, I got a call while on the practice field. I’ll never forget the jog up the hill from Franco Field to the AD’s office. She gave me an address and told me to go there after practice! I ran back down the hill very confused. I told one of my teammates, who had the best response ever! I’ll never forget him saying with a chuckle through his crooked front teeth, “Man, that’s two houses down from me!” We traveled together, me going to a part of the neighborhood I barely recognized. Mom had moved everything we needed into the first floor of a two family house… somehow. We were free, and I was free to play the game I loved!!! As sports editor of the Dickinsonian (the school paper) I provided an inside look of the football team for that season, to rave reviews from my teammates and by the student body!
Being a single mom and raising two young boys took its toll on her that year however, and even though I was readier than ever to tackle my senior year on the gridiron, working took priority over football. I’d been hired at a brand new museum that opened up in Jersey City, Liberty Science Center, which allowed me an opportunity to contribute to the family’s income. As my classmates were being recruited, I was determined to play again! I applied to a few schools as back-ups, but my dream was to play for the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers!! During the time away from football, I teamed up with Dr. Cornelius Barker and assisted him in his Dr. Doom campaign. We traveled to juvenile facilities, spoke to groups of disadvantaged youths, and attempted to steer them in the right direction. Hard to forget the day I stood up in front of a gathering of juvenile delinquents (in a suit at 17) trying to tell them that they didn’t hafta end up in a place like this when they grew up. While scanning the crowd, I saw a classmate from our freshman-year computer programming class. This guy was too smart to be in this room. Way too smart!
Off to college! My attempt to walk-on was short-lived. Two practices and the position coaches already knew they couldn’t use an extremely undersized DE, and they already had their punters and place kickers… so there and then the dream died! I thought I’d pursue the journalism career, but the urge to study law was too much to resist. It gave me the chance to develop my research and writing skills. I fell in love with Psychology! All these thoughts I’d had before… they had names and theories and others had studied what I thought were just my observations of life. When I was introduced to Sociology I knew I’d found my niche. I worked closely with the acting Director of the Admin of Justice Department at the time, Professor Michael Welch, and am mentioned in the forward of his book, FLAG BURNING, for my research efforts (http://www.professormichaelwelch.com/index2.html). He would influence me in a way few others had.
A degree, two minors and a certificate behind me, I put college in the rearview and moved onto my first real job as a paralegal. The field of immigration law was a booming industry at the time, and took me from a cubicle at an office in Iselin, NJ to a wonderful opportunity a few blocks from San Francisco’s famed Ferry Building just off the Bay. Something about the atmosphere of the area, the beauty of the streets and my newfound love for late-night coffee shops rekindled a fire that had been out for some time. I had the urge to write again. Poems led to songs… then short stories fell off pages between sips of Café Altura Organic. I’d regained my hunger for writing, and it was time to get back to familiar surroundings. After several unbelievable years on the west coast, with trips to Hawaii, San Diego, Denver and many weekends spent in lovely Lake Tahoe, I was back in the great state of New Jersey, just off the Hudson River.
I knew what I wanted to do, but it took time before I found a way to give my love for radio and writing a voice. I found myself calling more radio shows, and writing opinion pieces, but not feeling fulfilled. After very few responses to my efforts at reaching out to established writers, I took a chance and sent an opinion piece to a website looking for writers. I expected it to be returned with a few suggestions for resubmission. Within an hour, I received an email telling me where I could find my work. There it was. An essay I conjured up just hours before was being featured on a website, and receiving great reaction. I haven’t looked back. Early shows like ‘Jets in 30’ with my co-host Amiri Tulloch have turned into our most-recent incarnation ‘The Green and White Show’ where we cover the New York Jets, as well as the other 31 National Football League teams. Writing and radio have opened many doors once shut, including meeting greats like Jerry Rice, champions like Bill Romanowski, and admired radio personalities from across the country. The best part is… I’m just getting started!!
The Green and White Show w/ Joseph Haas & Amiri Tulloch
Be sure not to miss our upcoming interview with special guest Dr. Steven Novicky of Shockstrip, Inc. He’ll be making his second appearance on The Green and White Show, joining us on March 1, 2014! Show airs at 4:30p EST (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fanvsfanradio/2014/03/01/the-green-and-white-show--episode-45), and we encourage all to join us as we bring that Sunday football feel… every Saturday afternoon!!
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