Circa 2010

Reggie to Donnie to Jeets: The Yankees Are My Constant

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Waking up in the morning, the first thing I see are my posters. One is for that new movie everyone loves, Star Wars. Another is a collection of all my favorite DC Comics superheroes, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and everyone else in the Justice League. But the third is my favorite, Reggie Jackson. I am 7-years-old.

I shuffle to the kitchen for coffee. Partied too hard the night before. My head is pounding, but it was totally worth it. I get the coffee going and fetch the morning papers. I will spend the next couple hours cutting out pictures and headlines to post on my fridge. The Yankees won a World Series again, at last. Hideki Matsui is a God. Zilla, that is. I am 39-years-old.

My heart is in my throat as I exit the subway. I’d come to see Yankee Stadium once before when I first arrived in New York City but it stood silent in early October. The Yankees weren’t a playoff team, after all. But now it’s spring, and the Bronx is alive! I have never before attended a live MLB game. I am about to have a religious experience. Nobody has ever heard of Derek Jeter. I am 24-years-old.

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I’ve just arrived in a brand new city. I don’t know anyone. This dude challenges me over my Yankee hat. He thinks I’m just wearing it to be cool. It only takes a moment to prove to each other that we are genuine Yankee fans. We spend the next ten years cheering the Yankees when they visit Toronto. We master our heckling. We bring puppets. We learn to not only withstand the catcalls, but to relish them. I am 33-years-old.

Blood runs down my face as I pick myself up out of the gravel. We’ve moved to new town, I’m in a new school, I’m smaller than the other boys, and I don’t wear the same baseball hat that they do. It also doesn’t help that I don’t know when to shut up. The big guy in the Blue Jays hat is holding my Yankees hat high in the air, taunting me. I know I’m going to get my ass kicked but I charge him again anyway. I am 12-years-old.

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My Father-in-Law has tickets to see our boys play the cross town rivals. The two of us sit right next to a section of Met-heads dressed in orange, as they scream their fool heads off. The Yankees lose the game, but we have a blast together anyway. As it turns out, we both possess a sharp tongue and neither of us is shy about using it. I have much to learn from this man. I am 44-years-old.

Over the course of my life, I have gone through many changes. I have lived in fishing villages in Atlantic Canada, a million miles from Yankee Stadium. I have slowly evolved my political allegiances, going from one end of the ideological spectrum to the other. I used to prefer Pepsi, then I preferred Coke, and these days I drink neither. I used to be fiercely loyal to Superman and the Justice League, but now I prefer Marvel and their Avengers a lot more.

Think back on your life, and the changes you have gone through. Friends come and go. Jobs, careers, what you do to make a living, none of that is set in stone. The world pitches and yaws every day. Sometimes we go through good times. Sometimes we have to tough things out. The only thing we can count on most times seems to be change.

What this teaches us is to treasure the constants. Family. Friends. That one special meal that you like more than others. That dream that you haven’t realized yet. Your bucket list.

My son interrupts my train of thought. He’s almost talking now. He stomps around the room with abandon. His Jeter shirt has milk stains on it. He is almost 18 months old.

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I am a lucky man. I have many constants now. My wife, my son, my family. I have no way to express the lengths of my gratitude. It is a problem I am happy to have. And all the while, underneath it all, has been the Yankees. A quiet drum beat to my life.

I scream with joy as David Cone disappears under Joe Girardi and the rest of the Yankees. He has just thrown a perfect game. I am 29-years-old.

After searching for what feels like forever I finally have a Yankees figure! It’s a plastic mini statue of Yogi Berra. It would be all I find for almost ten years. I am 9-years-old.

I am inconsolable at the bar after that hit off of Mariano. We needed this, we deserved this! I mean, after Soriano’s homer it was our Series. Pour me another. I am 31-years-old.

I am reunited with the greatest love of my life. I know I am going to marry her. Our best days are yet to come. We go to see the Yankees play. I am 40-years-old.

It’s time to take my son for a walk. He can only take so much of being cooped up. We will go to Prospect Park. The grass has been cut, and he can run around on the baseball diamond. It is today.

From Reggie to Donnie to Jetes, the Yankees are a constant in my life. So much in my life has changed, has been fluid, but not the Yankees. They are my team. Whether they win, whether they lose, I am a Yankees fan for life. Are you?

Play ball!

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Tags: Derek Jeter Don Mattingly Reggie Jackson Yankee Stadium

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