Meet Curt Gandolfo, Who's 'Joined the Jets'

One Jets fan's dream came true when he got to visit the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Wednesday, and that was only the half of it.

The real excitement should come on Sunday when Join the Jets contest winner Curt Gandolfo will lead the Green & White out of the Meadowlands tunnel for the start of Sunday's Fan Appreciation Day game against the Buffalo Bills.

If Wednesday's visit was any indication, Curt is going to be amped up for the game.

"I can't believe I'm in here," said Curt from the locker room. "This facility is state of the art, everything's brand new. It caters to the players. I think it's great. It's what the Jets deserve."

Gandolfo, 36, is a 15-year Green & White fan. He was so excited that he couldn't even hold back the anticipation while trying to put in a day's work as the landscaping manager of Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Somerset County, N.J.

"This is the ultimate New York Jets fan experience," he said. "To be inside of the locker room, to be a Jet player for the day, you couldn't ask for more being a fan, to win this type of contest."

For the 30 minutes Curt was in the facility, the smile on his face went from ear to ear. He took a tour of the facility with Brian Mulligan, director of events and game operations, down the hallway with the wallpaper of Jets fans in the stands, and headed towards the coaches' offices.

He was then led into the locker room surrounded by all 62 players' lockers (53 active plus eight practice squad and one injured reserve) and paused to reflect before he went in to meet Gus Granneman, the Jets' director of equipment, and get fitted for his uniform.

Helmet, shoulder pads, jersey (with his last name and the No. 09 printed on it), pants, and cleats, just like the players wear on gameday.

"Sunday can't get here fast enough," said Curt. "I can't wait to strap it up and get out there. I wish I could play."

Though you might think Curt is a new Jets punter or kicker when he leads the team out, he's still just a fan with a pretty cool opportunity that does not include playing. But he's nearly the same size as Jets CB Lito Sheppard, who walked by the equipment room while Curt was there.

"That was pretty cool to see him," said Curt. "He's a smaller type guy. I would like to see [Kris] Jenkins up close that would be pretty cool, too.

He'll get a chance to see the entire Jets roster up close on Sunday before the game and to bring that energy with him out onto the field.

The Jets are calling for a "Green Out" on Sunday, but rain may hamper the efforts with fans wearing yellow ponchos and multi-colored jackets. That won't affect Curt, though. After he takes off his uniform, he'll be wearing his green rain garb when he rejoins the other fans in the stands and performs his usual "DE-FENSE" chant.

This season ticket holder hopes the noise on Sunday can match the noise of the home opener vs. the Patriots in Week 2, which will be a hard task.

"That was the loudest I've every heard it," said Curt. "It took me a couple of days to get my voice back."

There are many other events scheduled for Fan Appreciation Day including the National Anthem performed by contest winner Meghann Carr, plenty of giveaways — jerseys, free flights and more — a special Flight Crew routine, and even a fan field goal challenge at halftime.

So fans, prepare your voiceboxes to join Curt in cheering on the Green & White Sunday, even if it requires some honey and tea later.

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