Back on July 4, I stood on a balcony in Union City and watched the fireworks over the Hudson with my friend Sam Reiss. I had gotten engaged to a wonderful girl four days ago, the possibilities seemed endless, and life was good.
Five months later, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m typing this while lying in bed with my fiancÃƒÂ©e, resting up before we ring in the New Year on our couch. On our bedroom television, the Real Housewives of Orange County are screeching at each other at decibel levels that could drown out a jet engine.
And I absolutely couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be happier.
I still remember like yesterday the day Darryl Strawberry left the Mets for the Dodgers. I was waiting to get a haircut in fifth grade when the news on the television at the barber shop told me Darryl had jumped ship. I melted out of my chair and sank to my knees.
Straw was my first sports love; it was as if my best friend had moved away. (That actually happened a couple years later, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recall it hitting me nearly as hard as losing Darryl.)
Going through that was rough when I was 11, but it was a necessary lesson about two years into being a sports fan: Nothing lasts forever. Players leave, teams change, eras come and go. I eventually came to grips with it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ years later, I even bought a Dodgers Strawberry jersey.
Now somewhat jaded at 32, with Dan Marino and Patrick Ewing and LeBron James the Cavalier in my rearview mirror, this sort of thing honestly doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t faze me anymore. Our teams are inextricable parts of our identities, but the players on them shuttle in and out like friends from various chapters in our lives.
As such, I always just have to shake my head at peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s knee-jerk reactions when a star player leaves for another team. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re 12, sure, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a crushing blow. But if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been watching sports for any legitimate portion of time, how canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you know by now this is the way it goes?
21,000 people sold out Madison Square Garden on Saturday to watch Miguel Cotto give Antonio Margarito his comeuppance, and there would be no other acceptable outcome.
A Margarito victory would have been catastrophic, as would have a run-of-the-mill boxing debacle akin to Bernard HopkinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ aborted match against Chad Dawson a few weeks back. As such, with the exception of the first Mets game at Shea Stadium after 9/11, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve attended a sporting event where the outcome seemed quite so crucial.
As evidenced by my relative lack of activity here, November didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t turn out to be as placid as I would have liked. I make my living in baseball, and it seems to never really shut down at this point between awards, transactions and the new CBA being announced. In addition, my fiancÃƒÂ©e has moved into my apartment, so a lot of my time has been spent making sure this place is inhabitable for someone other than me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d characterize all of this as the good kind of busy.
After Thanksgiving dinner, my fiancÃƒÂ©e dozed off at around 10 p.m. while I watched episodes of The Walking Dead Ã¢â‚¬â€œ pretty standard.
Amazingly, she still insists she intends to marry me after I woke her up at 11:30 to drag her to Wal-Mart.