The Gospel of Smoov

Free of obstructed views and fair-weathered opinions

Joy and Pain: 2010 Memories

Damn, we’re almost at 2011 already?

With 2010 coming to a close, it seems like the perfect time for me to reflect on the events of this past year. Unlike 2009 when there was more joy than pain, this year was evenly up-and-down. With every sense of triumph, tragedy seemed to follow. One minute everything was fine in my world, the next everything was shaken up in the blink of an eye. Everything happens for a reason, though, and I found that I learned just as much from the tragedy as I did from the triumph. I think I found myself growing up quicker than usual, and I wouldn’t trade 2010 for anything in the world.

You’re going to laugh. You’re going to cry. Here are my top five memories from 2010:

1. HOPE Week Surprise

To those of you new to the blog, you may recognize Jane Lang from this season’s HOPE Week at Yankee Stadium. She sits behind home plate for every weekend game and is the most exceptional Yankees fan I have ever met. Born blind, Jane is an inspiration to all — from her knowledge of a game she cannot see to her flawless navigation of Penn Station with only her guide dog, Clipper, to assist her. I won’t bore you here, but be sure to read the blog post I wrote about her remarkable impact on my Stadium experience and watch the following video (courtesy of best-selling author Jane “She-Fan” Heller):

2. “The Knicks are back!”

With those words, Amar’e Stoudemire ushered in a new era of New York Knicks basketball. And it’s about damn time.

It was Stoudemire who left the only team he ever knew for the bright lights of Manhattan. Not LeBron, not Wade, not Bosh. Those three formed their version of the Big Three in South Beach. It was the former Phoenix Sun forward who took on the task of saving a franchise sullied by poor management and mediocre results over the last decade. He wanted to be the leader of a team desperate for leadership. It’s safe to say that things have turned out for the best.

While there is still room for improvement, Raymond Felton has performing at an All-Star level, and wingmen Wilson Chandler and rookie Landry Fields have developed nicely for Mike D’Antoni early on in the season. The Knicks are suddenly back in the playoff hunt and destined for their first winning season since 2000-01. Throw in the possibility of Carmelo Anthony becoming a Knick in the near future (my money’s on July) and it is okay to be a rock the Knicks’ orange and blue yet again.

GO NY GO NY GO!

3. The “F*** Yo Couch” Game*

The nickname for this game really says it all. With the Texas Rangers riding the momentum of their handling of the favored Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series, the Yankees had to go into Arlington and make a statement early in the ALCS. Things didn’t look good early with C.J. Wilson outperforming CC Sabathia through seven innings and the Yankees offense stumbling. But Brett Gardner’s lead-off infield single in the eighth inning kicked off a stretch of seven straight Yankees reaching base, ultimately resulting in the Bombers taking a 6-5 lead and sending Reade St. Pub into a frenzy. Making this game more special was that I was watching with approximately 20 of the most passionate fans I’ve met on Twitter (more on this later). To get a good idea of the atmosphere, here’s a video I captured of us doing our own “roll call” at the beginning of the game:

*Props to the esteemed William Helms for coming up with such an epic nickname

4. Remembering The Boss and The Voice of God

As I mentioned at the top of this post, learning from pain is just as instrumental to our character as learning from joy. As sad as it may seem, there was a ton of pain for me to endure in 2010. In a span of three days in mid-July, God took two Yankee icons from this world: George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard.

While their respective deaths come as no surprise given their recent health issues, there was still a sense of shock when the news came out. For two of the most recognizable figures in Yankees history to be taken from us in the blink of an eye … it took more than a toll on everyone’s hearts. The majority of the Yankees fans that I know have only know Bob Sheppard as the P.A. announcer and George Steinbrenner as the principal owner. It was weird to have both men gone, and it still feels a little weird now. But their legacies will live on forever.

And of course, I can’t forget to mention the untimely passing of my co-worker John Ceruti. His death came two days before Sheppard’s, making it three deaths in a five-day span for me. When I found out about John the same day I found out about Steinbrenner, I lost it. Here was a man who I saw every day I went to work from last season on, and he brought out the best in me. His presence on the 100 level at the Stadium will be missed.

5. The Power of Twitter

I can confidently say that nothing impacted my 2010 more than Twitter. The daily interactions with various people all over the world really opened my eyes to how different people lead their lives on a daily basis, and it made face-to-face interactions with them that much easier. There’s no better feeling than knowing that there are hundreds — thousands, even — of “tweeps” who are just as crazy about the same hobbies as you are, sometimes even more so.

Twitter opened the door for instant interaction during Yankees games with both die-hard fans and Yankees beat writers. Twitter brought together hundreds of fans for various “tweet-ups” throughout the year — from my section at the Stadium to karaoke in Stamford with the guys from the YES Network. And it was Twitter that made it easier to cope with the death of our fallen soldier Steven Smith. If you ever got the chance to interact with Steven on Twitter like so many of us did, you could fully grasp Twitter’s purpose. I am glad that I got that chance; here’s what he meant to my experience.

*****

In short, it was a wild and crazy 2010. There’s so much more that happened that I could have added here, but it would have been tough to knock any of these five memories off the list. These clearly defined my year the most, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is no doubt that I will take everything from 2010 and continue to grow as a person in 2011 and beyond.

And that’s it from me for 2010. Look out for me as I further enhance my blogging skills and try to get going towards my career. Be safe and enjoy your New Year’s!

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