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Klymshyn is a Giant of a fan

Valencia's John Klymshyn enters DIRECTV contest to score a pair of Super Bowl game day tickets

Posted: November 22, 2008 7:14 p.m.
Updated: November 23, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's John Klymshyn displays a few items of New York Giants fan memorabilia. Klymshyn, a longtime fan of the NFL team, is a finalist in the DIRECTV contest to find "America's Ultimate Displaced Football Fan."

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It would be more than appropriate for Valencia resident John Klymshyn (pronounced CLEM-SHIN) to come out of nowhere and take the grand prize in DIRECTV's current search for "America's Ultimate Displaced Football Fan."

After all, his New York Giants did the same thing last season, coming from the sidelines to win its final 10 road games, including stunning undefeated New England for the Super Bowl title.

"I've always loved the Giants," he said. "They were my father's favorite team, as well. They are the only team with no mascot and no cheerleaders. They just go out and play football."

And even though the team has claimed three National Football League titles, the last one was the most special for the East Coast transplant.

"It was an absolutely amazing feeling," said Klymshyn a sales management motivational speaker who attended the Giants-Dolphins contest at Wembley Stadium in London on Oct. 28, 2007. "Few people thought they would make the playoffs, let alone win the whole thing."

Even the long-suffering Klymshyn, who had endured a series of mediocre head coaches (Bill Arnsparger, John McVay, Ray Perkins) and sub-.500 campaigns in the late 1970s-early '80s, was not convinced New York could do anything. "I was not a big (quarterback) Eli (Manning) fan, and I was not sold on the defense," Klymshyn admitted.

An opportunity to travel to Great Britain, however, and see the team triumph over the woeful Miami club brought about a renewed hope in the prospects of better things to come for the Huntington, N.Y. native.

The trip also afforded Klymshyn the chance to shake hands and pose for pictures with his hero, Giants linebacker Harry Carson, who helped lead the team to its first Super Bowl crown in 1987.

"I was like a 12-year-old kid," Klymshyn said. "I e-mailed that photo to about 50 of my friends. It was great."

Klymshyn became "displaced" in 1980, when a tour in the U.S. Navy brought him to San Diego. A few years later he settled in Palmdale, then moved to Valencia.

His westerly movements, however, never curbed his enthusiasm for the Giants, and his patience finally paid off in January 1987 when skipper Bill Parcells led the team to victory in Super Bowl XXI as they scored a Super Bowl-record 30 second-half points in defeating the Denver Broncos 39-20.

Four years later, New York won an even more stunning triumph. In Super Bowl XXV they defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in Tampa Stadium, on a last-second missed Buffalo field goal and against a patriotic backdrop inspired by the recently started Gulf War.

"As a Navy veteran, that win was so special on so many levels," Klymshyn said. "I was very, very emotional during that game."

Over the past few seasons, though, as the club's fortunes waned (they won the 2000 NFC championship, but were buried by Baltimore 34-7 in Super Bowl XXV), he spent most of his time watching the Giants on television. However, he did have the chance to attend six road games in three cities, but the team never won until he crossed the pond to London.

In September, while viewing DIRECTV's "NFL Countdown," he saw a commercial advertising the ultimate displaced fan contest. There are several prizes, but the main gift is a trip for two to the Super Bowl in Tampa on Feb. 1.

"The ad said to tell them why you are the biggest fan not living in your team's city," he said. "I thought, ‘Hey, I've got a story here,' and immediately began to put together about a 1,000-word essay on my experiences and how I had been a die-hard fan long before the club was successful."

"Klymshyn is not the only displaced fan NFL fan out there," read a DIRECTV statement. "Displaced, die-hard fans who maintain a nearly obsessive allegiance to their favorite team despite being far removed from its local market, will always have a home with DIRECTV."

Three weeks later, Klymshyn received a call from DIRECTV, but had forgotten about the contest by that time.

"Honestly, I thought it was someone from DIRECTV trying to sell me another sports package or something," he laughed. "Then the man told me they liked my story and informed me that I had made the finals. I was pretty shocked. Now, the only problem is if I win my wife and daughter will have to battle over the second ticket, 'cause I'm not giving up mine."

That was the good news, but Klymshyn still could not figure out just how many finalists were announced, or who his competition is.

"I knew my story was compelling, but I had no idea what I would be up against. Actually, I would rather have the finalists go on TV and explain their essays to a voting public, sort of like ‘American Idol,'" he said.

If Klymshyn should prevail and win the contest, other prizes in addition to the Super Bowl tickets include an opportunity to meet Super Bowl XLII MVP and New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, as well as another player from their favorite NFL team. The winner also gets to play side-by-side with celebrities and star athletes in DIRECTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl flag football game, also held in Tampa during Super Bowl week. Finally, the winner will participate in their own media tour where they'll rub elbows with NFL stars while doing interviews on "radio row" at the official Super Bowl media center.

"Just winning the trip to the Super Bowl would be absolutely amazing," he said. "But how much greater would it be if the defending champion Giants were one of the teams competing?"

Deadline to enter the contest is Nov. 30. One winner will be selected by a panel of judges, based on the example of dedication they display to their favorite team and the creativity of their submissions. For information visit www.directv.com.

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