Full confession: I was never a baseball fan. I grew up in Massachusetts, not watching baseball or any other sport. My first experience of a Major League Baseball game was when I was in my early 20's and I was working as an EMT in the Boston area. The company I worked for had an ambulance with two EMTs stationed at Fenway Park. One of us had to stay with the rig. Being that I was in graduate school, I volunteered my time so that I could get my homework done during the games.
A few years later, I met the man who I now call my husband. He grew up just outside of Boston but was always a Yankees' fan. He had briefly lived in New York in the 80's and loved everything about the Yankees. I gradually started learning a little more than just the "basics" of the game. Along came two sons. Our younger son, who is 17 years old, would probably bleed pinstripes. He proudly wore one of his many Yankees t-shirts to school every day for his entire 4th grade school year. We live in New Hampshire, close to the Massachusetts border, and being a Yankees fan in this area is tough! But that didn't deter him.
But what did Mariano Rivera mean to me? In late summer of 2013, my husband realized that the Yankees were unlikely to make the playoffs, so he purchased tickets for us to attend the last regular season home game at Yankee Stadium, thinking that we'd have the chance to attend Mariano Rivera's last game. He was right. Sure, I do not understand all of the nuances of baseball. Sure, sometimes I get bored. I was excited for this game though, and I got my "I was there" pin.
That day, on September 26, 2013, what thrilled me the most, however, was seeing my husband and two sons and their passion for the game. I saw the three of them hugging, crying, and just sharing a love for something that I will never quite get. What Mariano Rivera meant to me was an appreciation for the passion of baseball that my husband and sons share. He gave me a chance to see why they love the Yankees so much. And on that night, he made me realize that somewhere along the way, I became a baseball fan.
THANK YOU TO DEBORAH SMITH FOR HER CONTRIBUTION AND FOR SHARING HER STORY WITH US!