There was something so poignant about watching the Yankees win the World Series this year. After more than a year of economic gloom, the Yankees reminded us, as they always do, that if you work hard, stay focused, believe in yourself, keep showing up, maintain your grace, dignity, and faith, someday you’ll be back on top.
I’ve watched Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada play for so long that seeing them together in another World Series felt like having all the kids home for the holidays. Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were all in their 20s?
When the core four joined the Yankees, my son, Jack, was just starting his Little League career and New York City was pulling itself out of a recession. Real estate prices had fallen so far that they didn’t return to their 1988 levels until 1998. Later we survived the Dot-com bust and then there was the tragedy of 9-11.
The night the Yankees lost the 2001 World Series Jack, who was 11 at the time, broke down and cried. After all the City had gone through in the weeks following September 11, he felt we deserved that victory, that we needed to win more than any other city because we had suffered the most. He was heartbroken when it didn’t happen.
I’ve often thought that Jack had bottled up the horror of 9-11 until that night and with the Yankees defeat it all came pouring out–the classmate’s dad who died; the 12 missing firefighters who worked out of the firehouse he walked by to and from school every day; the eerie buzz of dozens of airliners streaming over his touch football game in Prospect Park the day the airports reopened; endless memorial services; the smell of death that hung over the City for months.
That heartbroken little boy from 2001 grew up and is away at college. Now we’re in the middle of a different kind of national crisis, the Great Recession. But the Yankees victory this week gave us hope for better days when we won’t be dwelling on office vacancy rates, falling condo prices, distressed properties, or the credit crunch.
Andy, Derek, Mariano, and Jorge, we’ve been through a lot together over the years. Thanks for reminding us that we can dream again.