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Never Forget: My Happy Place
Time sure does have a habit of flying by, doesn’t it?
Tomorrow marks 10 years since the horrific terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. I never forgot where I was when I first heard about the attack on the World Trade Center: it was my 3rd day of classes at Xavier High School. I was in my first period Religion class and remember just being in absolute shock that someone would attempt to strike fear in such a large city. I was fortunate to not lose any loved ones to the attacks, but one of my friends in that Religion class wound up losing his father. There was even an article about Xavier in the Daily News that Friday. All 800+ students carried heavy hearts through the next few weeks as we tried to return to normalcy. For me, normalcy came in the form of baseball.
I like to think the fall of 2001 is the moment where I first realized that the Yankees brought me to my happy place. Even though I didn’t get to go to any games during that season, following the games made me feel safe. I was free from all the turmoil around me; it didn’t seem like anything else mattered because I was watching my boys play. I genuinely felt happy and relieved. Everything about that fall, from Derek Jeter’s flip play in Oakland to the three thrilling World Series home games, made me think that the Yankees were going to win not just for the city of New York, but the entire country. It made me damn proud to be a Yankee fan. It also made it that much more devastating when the wheels came off in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 — with Mariano Rivera, of all people, on the mound. To this day, that is the only game I’ve ever watched or been to that made me cry. Yes, I cried myself to sleep that night. But even with that heartbreaking loss, it still felt amazing to break away from the world for three hours a day to be in my happy place.
The events of 9/11 have taught me that it is okay to break away from reality for a few hours to be in that one happy place. Lord knows I’ve needed it over the years, and I hope that this blog post will help someone understand where I’m coming from.