JetVenture: Crowdfunding A Perfect Season

Every fall, multiple weekends a season our friend Alex Young (AKA Roof, AKA LolaSportTalk) packs up from wherever he is living, and takes his camera to as many home and road games as he possibly can, documenting as much of the sublime and ridiculous he witnesses along the way.

It’s an average Sunday for a die-hard Jets fan.

Alex Young at MetLife, capturing the game on camera

Alex documents one fan’s day; from the traffic to the tailgate to the kickoff to the stalls and then all the way back again.  His is not that different every other fan’s experience, but it is Alex’s  uncanny eye and ability to capture the moment  which always comes through in his photo essays – which we’re proud to post links to every week here on TJB.

This year for the first time, Alex has decided to do some SERIOUS bootstrapping and plans on travelling to every Jets game in 2012.  As you might imagine, the costs are adding up any non-hedge fund manager.

I want to be clear that Alex never asked for help.  But we love and appreciate his work so much that we thought it would be great if us folks who love his work could help lend a fellow Jets fan a hand in this awesome endeavor.

I thought it might be cool to do what would amount to a crowdfunding campaign for Alex’s expenses on this cross country expedition.

We know this is wildly out of the normal, but it has to be said that even a small contribution can make a big difference.

It’s cliche, but every little bit really does help.

So consider this your chance to be an angel investor in Alex’s perfect season.  But also consider it a chance to photodocument one whole season of Jets football from the stands.

Any good financier would want to know more details, so here they are.

  • You can donate to Alex by using the PayPal “tip jar” below.
  • You can read a Q&A with Alex below
  • You can ask Alex your own questions in the comments.  He’ll try to answer as many as he can himself when his schedule allows.

In the meantime, Alex will be heading up to New England this weekend to document yet another game …

TJB: You’ve gone to a lot of home and away games over the past few years and done a great job documenting them … what is it about the game day experience that’s so interesting to you?

Alex: I enjoy the camaraderie  tens of thousands people from all walks of life come together to root for the same thing. It’s just such a unique experience, I just can’t think of anything else that compares in day to day life.

TJB: As best we can tell, you’ve gone to every game so far this season, are you trying to go for a perfect season?

Alex: It’s something that I’m definitely trying to do. I’m fortunate enough to have a season ticket and I got some free road tickets early on, so the foundation is set, it’s just about me figuring out how to make the road games work. I got a ridiculous steal on a 2nd row ticket in Foxboro this weekend so that’s taken care of. I’m going with a group of people to St Louis, I lived in Atlanta recently and plan on using it as a staging area between the Titans and Jags back to back and going to Buffalo in the dead of winter just sounds so awesome (no sarcasm, I swear, I love winter). The tough part is Seattle, its across the country, I have no friends or hook ups there and I have to be in St Louis a week later. I have a little while to figure that one out.

It’s an all-in effort for me: I drive a hooptie, live pretty bare bones and even moved back in with my parents before the season to free up money for all the travel. There’s not much else I care to spend money on.

TJB: Regardless of wins or losses, what was one of the best game day’s you’ve been able to capture on camera?

Alex: Probably when I was in San Diego for a playoff game in 2010. I had gotten my camera stolen in the parking lot, I had drank too much too early and I just entered this zone. When I emerged, the Jets had won and I had a whole bunch of great photos (I borrowed a camera). San Diego is probably the most hostile place to go for away games and for me and the Jets to simultaneously overcome these challenges and accomplish our goals meant a lot to me.

How did you become such a die-hard Jets fan?

Alex: I grew up in a sports-agnostic household, but I always enjoyed watching football all Sunday. One of my best friends’ Dad has been a season ticket holder forever and they would always take me to games in the late 90’s. What really sealed the deal for me was being at the game where the Jets won the 2002 AFC East title against the Packers, it really felt special. I guess you could say it was a bit of a bait and switch because they haven’t won it again since, but I appreciate the success the team has had in the last 10 years. I understand how tough it was in the 70s, 80s and pre-Parcells 90s for Jets fans, so I keep it all in perspective.

I didn’t start taking photos at Jets games until maybe 2005, I had gotten a free Polaroid camera and just got addicted.

You’ve met a lot of people at a lot of games, who are the people you keep gravitating back to on home game days?

The Grifter accosting the Niners mascot.

Alex: Well there’s definitely The Grifter and his whole crew. Growing up I knew him as the guy who sit behind me at games and yell “cut ya friggin hair”, now we travel to one road game a year together. We’ve had some great times over the years. I try to hit up his tailgate every home game, even though it’s all the way out by the Izod Center.

There’s almost a little LOLA gang … of course minus the stabbings and meth peddling.  Can you explain what LOLA is to the uninitiated?

Alex: Growing up my friends and I used to skateboard. Around 5th grade we founded a skatepark on an unused ice skating rink in a town park named “Lola Prentice”. From then on, my friends and I were known as the Lola kids. Eventually the police destroyed the skate-park but the name stuck with us. In 2004 we started a skateboard and clothing line under the same name.

Since then we have all branched out into our personal interests, my friend James has a burger and beer place in the East Village, my other friend Emmett has a media marketing company, I have the sports photography going on. We’ve all been friends for 20+ years, it’s great to have people you know you can count on.

What goals do you have in mind when it comes to photography and the fan sporting experience?

Alex: I have some shorter term goals like going to every NFL stadium (halfway there!), going to the Nets Brooklyn opening and going to all 16 Jets games one year. My long term goal is to ride around the country indefinitely in a limo and bring people at home bigger and better photo essays.