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Friday, September 26, 2014

{this moment}: When Sports Gave Us Better: All the Feels, Mr. Jeter.


I'm going to jump in on the Derek Jeter love today.  I know the internet is full this morning of posts on his final victorious game at home last night.  There will be articles written by knowledgeable, legitimate sportswriters about him today, tomorrow and for years to come  They will detail his skill as a shortstop and as a hitter and a runner.  I don't know all that much about that part of Derek Jeter.  And though I know they are formidable, I can't rattle off his batting stats, how many rings he has or how many MVP awards he has.

I'm just a mom.

I'm just a mom of boys who play baseball and a wife of one who coaches.  I'm a member of a house which has the tv tuned to ESPN or MLB network or NESN all the flippin' time.  And I write a blog called The View from Behind Home Plate so, perhaps by marriage or by motherhood or simply by osmosis, baseball has become my thing.  I've honestly not had much of a choice and I've come to appreciate the way sports can help my husband and me teach our kids about things like tenacity and teamwork, struggle and perseverance, failure and triumph.  And, due to people like Derek Jeter, about character and humility.  There has not been one time - not once - where I wanted to switch the channel when Derek Jeter was on the sports report.

In my family our loyalties run the gamut when it comes to Major League Baseball.  Husband and the two oldest are diehard Red Sox fans.  Little man loves the Dodgers lately.   I play the field, so to speak.  I'm a Texas Ranger fan by birth.  I'm a Boston Red Sox fan by marriage (and by my never-ending crush on Matt Damon and his accent in Good Will Hunting)  This year I made a bold move and decided that I have officially, of my own accord, chosen my team:  the Washington Nationals.  No one in this family has ever - will ever - cheer for the Yankees.

And yet, my {this moment} this week?  The moment I want to pause, savor and remember?  It was that moment when Derek Jeter, a guy who plays for the Yankees (the YANKEES!!) busted a walk-off basehit in the bottom of the ninth to bring the runner home and win his very last home game for his team.

I don't have to tell you that the moments in the sports world that are worth pausing, savoring and remembering have been few and far between in the last few weeks.  Sports is chock full of stuff we want to forget.   We watch over-hyped, over-paid, immature, selfish and even criminal athletes, who are put on pedestals, come crashing down as tales of their brokenness are shouted from commentators and news reporters.

But I can't help it.  I love sports.  I believe in sports.  I love athletes and competition and teamwork.  And I know sports has given and can give us better moments.  Last night, baseball gave us better.  It gave us Derek Jeter.

We watched the replay of that moment we've seen a thousand times this week. That play where Jeter goes diving into the stands and comes out all bloody and bruised (and kinda dreamy) with the ball in his glove.

We watched him take his position for one of the last times out on his field all the while breathing deep breaths in and out,  We just knew that man was trying so hard not to cry. So, we cried for him.

And then {this moment}:  When he came up to bat with a tie game and the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth, At that moment there was a 45 year old woman in her pjs ironing a stack of wrinkled boy clothes.  She thought that it would be too good to be true.  You could not possibly write a script this good.  When he had that basehit RBI to win his last game that woman dropped the iron and jumped up and down and yelled, "Oh my gosh!!  He did it!  Basehit, Jeter!  Safe, safe, safe!!!"

Kyle ran sleepy eyed into my room and we both ran down the stairs to join Joe and Steve watching in the family room.  My husband, my boys and I all had the same expression while watching the replay over and over as Jeter jumped into his teammate's arms.  We stared up at the tv, each of us with our mouths half wide open, the corners just barely curling into four disbelieving smiles.

I think of those faces as I write this now and it reminds me of two things I saw some where on the internet last night.  One was someone saying that the problem with today's world with all of our advancements and intelligence and technology was that we have lost a sense of wonder.  And another was someone tweeting about this final game saying, "All the feels, Jeter"

And this is why I love sports and moments like this.   It was true that in that moment we had all the feels:  sadness, joy, gratitude, relief, nostalgia.  All of them.  And one more that shone on the faces of my Red Sox loving baseball boys.

Wonder.

I will not reach hastily for the remote today, Mr. Jeter.  I'll let all the wonder of your career, your character and your skill stay on the tv and I'll even sit down and watch with them.

All the feels, #2.  All of them.  From a baseball loving mom in the suburbs to you, sir:  Many, many thanks.



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