Thursday, November 5, 2009

27 and one

As I began the walk over the 155th Street bridge, a strange sensation suddenly captured my attention. While I should have been filled only with excitement, I was struck with a feeling of melancholy. I was headed to my second home, Yankee Stadium, and Game 6 of the World Series.

I had received the call earlier that afternoon. It was my nephew advising that his wife might be able to obtain an extra ticket for what would prove to be a very big party. It was very touching and very unexpected. Everyone who has been in my company over the last half century has been subjected to my Yankee mania. I had never, in all the hundreds of times that I had been a spectator, been witness to the ultimate conquest. This was, at last, a chance to be there when the promised land was reached.

Yet, during that stroll towards a culmination of a lifetime of watching and waiting for this day, I felt very alone. While I was meeting up with my nephew and would eventually spend 4 innings sitting with him, my seat and his were not together. I would ultimately be sitting by myself, among 50,000 strangers. This was not the perfect setting for the perfect ending.

I have spent each and every moment of each and every Yankee game I have ever attended in the company of those I care for, both friends and family. The Yankees, it turns out, provide a backdrop for my pleasure. What I love more than the team, is the time with my Dad, with my friends, and for the last 20 years or so, with my children.

We recently had the very good fortune to have been in possession of two World Series tickets to Game 2. We had a very big battle among my daughter, my son and myself to see which two of us would go. But, the fight was not what you would think. We all fought NOT to go. It was a case of each of us wanting the others to be the fortunate ones. It was surreal and it was beautiful.

My daughter was out of the country yesterday when I got the call from my nephew. My son was not up to attending. Thus, I could not hand off the prize to either of them. But in my walk towards the Stadium last night, I was reaching for their presence.

I know I must seem the fool. I am as grateful as can possibly be, to my niece and nephew. I thoroughly enjoy my nephew's company and we had wonderful moments together last night, rooting our guys on. But throughout the night, and especially in those innings where I was seated among others who were sharing their thoughts and emotions with people special to them, I felt very much isolated. Intellectually, I knew this was idiotic. Emotionally, I missed my children intensely.

I received calls from both of them throughout the game. My daughter, from her remote locale to which she had flown earlier in the day, my son from the home he shares with Joanne and me. I could sense their feelings for me.

By the last two innings, I had found my way back to my nephew. With the last out, I gave him a big hug, and a heartfelt thanks. I had been a spectator to history, to an event so important in the world I inhabit.

I made my way out of the Stadium after the game to the streets where thousands were holding the largest street celebration you could imagine. I walked alone back across the 155th Street bridge and waited for Joanne and Richie to pick me up. Crossing from the Bronx back to Manhattan, I turned around to give one last look towards the season that was. I said my silent thank you to the Yankees and to my nephew and niece. It was an evening I will never forget, but not just for what happened on the field. It was a unique evening in my life in ways I could hardly have imagined.


Anonymous said...

I am completely shocked you chose to write about the Yankees today.I watched every minute of the game while my wife was sleeping and my daughters were doing other things. I felt all alone in my chair thinking of my childhood days living at the old Stadium. It was so nice and warm in my room.

Robert said...

It was actually pretty comfortable at the Stadium last night. Given the weather through much of the playoffs, I was very happy not to be soaked or chilled.

A great season closed down last night. About 4 months until pitchers and catchers report and the cycle begins anew. Gotta love it.

Unknown said...

It was pretty special not only to be at a World Series game but also to witness the clinching game. It's rare to have the luck and fortune to be at that precise game. For that, I thank my wife. But it was also great to be able to share that moment with my uncle, who in all of his years of going to Yankee games and Yankee World Series', had never been to the World Series clinching game. Although our seats were only about 40 feet away from each other, we sat together for the first 2 innings and, most importantly, the last 2. To be able to share the first pitch and last pitch moment were very special. To be able to be jumping up and down together as the player rushed the mound and seeing my uncle witness this celebration for the first time in the 98 years he's been going to games, was something I will always remember.
But not as much as Derek Jeter coming over afterwards to thank me for all of my help, advice, teaching, friendship, saying that he owes me for his ability to be the most clutch player in the game, and he wouldn't be what or where he is without me. Hey....it could happen.

Robert said...

Who knew you had such a dry wit (98 years going to games)about your absolute favorite relative.

Given the elbows you find a way to rub up against (almost Forrest Gump-like) it would not surprise me to see and DJ trading insults and secrets one day soon.

Thanks again for including me in a very special moment. You are so right about how nice it was to bookend the evening in each other's company.

Unknown said...

I wish that were the case. I will start to think about facts for my Why I Want to Be Jeter/Why I Hate Jeter (for my not being Jeter) post.

Robert said...

anxiously awaiting your submission

Robert said...

Beautiful....Great stuff...

next time save the melancholy and just give me the ticket!!!