Monday, September 22, 2008

Fathers, sons and daughters

There were only 4 people in Yankee Stadium last night. There was no game. There was no ceremony. The seats were empty. My father, who passed away in 1979, was sitting next to me.Though only two people (my daughter and I) passed through the turnstiles, my son was on my other side, occupying a seat next to his sister.

This was not a night about Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle or Jeter. This was a night about my being 6 years old and having my father under a 'tent', sweating with me throughout the night, as I 'vaporized' away the whooping cough that was making it hard to breathe.

This was not a night about 26 World Series, or George Steinbrenner. This was about having a young son, named after his grandfather whom he would never meet. This was about having a daughter who would share some of her grandfather's finest qualities but would never get to know his smile or feel his warmth.

This was not a night about records that were broken, or would never be broken. This was about walking through the turnstiles, year after year, so glad that you could spend one more day, a few more hours, in the company of those you loved so much. This was about being grateful.

This was not a night to dwell on a season lost. This was not a time to wonder about what could have been. This was a time to understand that this arena gave you the opportunity, for the last 50 years to enjoy the moment. This was a time to reflect on life outside the lines and away from the crowds. This was the moment when the emotions were allowed to wash over you.

I did not say goodbye to Yankee Stadium last night. I did not walk away after the final pitch and the final out and dwell on the good and the bad that I had seen over the last half century. I walked out, 4 astride , arm in arm in arm with the memories of my dad, my son and my daughter. It was a unique moment in my life and one that baseball permitted me to have. For that, it was a game I will never forget.

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