And On Deck…My Husband

It may be winter here in the US, but it’s already baseball season in my husband’s heart.  Truth be told, it’s never not baseball season in Andy’s heart.  He has been a Yankee fan since he was in utero (his mother is an avid fan and I have no doubt he was listening to Yankee games long before he ever greeted the world).  This is no fickle affection – you can say whatever you want about the team many people love to hate – there is no logic to this love, there is no reason to this rhyme.  He is besotted.  Retrospectively, I clearly was a contender for his marital intentions because I’m from New York and as such an unlikely enemy to the team.  I am no longer jealous; I am amused.  I have met my competition and our understanding is mutually acceptable.

yankeeboys03is-1

The Yankees can have him.

Honestly, they can – and they will – starting next Sunday when Andy heads to Yankee Fantasy Camp.  This will be his third trip to sleep-away camp, and the excitement in our house is getting a little out of control.  He’s been hitting the gym with brio, practicing his swing at the batting cages, and yesterday he got a new glove (he will be prepping it appropriately over the next few days).  The Yankee swag is re-appearing as the anticipation of packing begins.  Later this week, I will also make sure he has ice packs, the newest in knee braces and an appropriate complement of ace bandages and Tylenol.

I visited Fantasy Camp last year, met some aging icons of the team – most of whom are bloated, arthritic, charming and well past their prime.  That said, on the last day when the ‘pros’ play the ‘campers’ at Steinbrenner Field, they can still impress.  True, each amateur team only plays two innings against the pros, but that’s still about ten innings for the pros.  David Wells was one of the coaches for Andy’s team – funny guy with a belly that prevents him from seeing his toes anymore – who can still throw heat and intimidate by his sheer size.  He quickly surmised that I was the ‘wiseguy’ in the family, and spoke of my husband as if he was a cute little boy who was giving it his all.  Andy was beaming – and for one moment I thought I was attending a parent/teacher conference.  He also wasn’t alone – all these boys/men gazed upon their idols with a sense of proprietary adoration, each hoped to hear an ‘atta boy’.  By the end of the week they were all thisclose.

There’s lots of bonding that goes on – from comparing pulled muscles and experiences with the trainers to shouting support and butt-patting.  Spitting in the dirt.  It gets a little infectious.  I yelled out “Go Two!” (Andy had chosen the number 2 for his jersey) and as all these men looked over in my direction,  my father-in-law gently pointed out that such encouragement could be directed to half the team, since a lot of them were also thinking of Derek Jeter when they selected their number of choice.  Ok, my bad.  I just thought that shouting “Go honey” was a little lame.

By the end of the week, all of these middle-aged men have lived their most replayed childhood fantasy.  They’re playing with the pros.  In Yankee uniforms, on Yankee turf.  Their names announced over the loudspeaker – not by someone’s dad – but by a legitimate-sounding announcer. It all gets pretty heady I think.  I wonder whether there are emotional group hugs as the buses prepare to head for the airport, with promises to write every day and strains of “See You In September” playing overhead.  I do know that the only pictures on Andy’s Facebook page are of his athletic prowess as a pseudo-Yankee.

At the end of the day, there’s little I enjoy more than seeing my husband and/or kids happy.  That kind of happy that makes you smile from the inside out, prompted by a sensation that is impossible to describe but feels a little like bubbles.  And there is little if anything that makes Andy happier than getting to play ball with icons from his youth.  To hang out with guys who totally ‘get it’ and still have the capacity to delight the kid within.  I hope we’ve all been there and continue to go there whenever possible – I have and I do.  When I screamed “I LOVE YOU JAMES” at the Garden a few years back when James Taylor and Carole King were on their ‘Live At The Troubadour’ tour (I say with all humility that I’m sure he heard me and was looking directly at me while he performed. My row and seat number?  Is that really relevant??).   Or when I pretend I’m Ray Lewis entering a football stadium (it is f-i-e-r-c-e let me tell you) or ‘Vogue’ in the kitchen a la Madonna.  It just kind of bubbles up inside and you have to just play.

So, put him in Coach – he’s beyond ready.

youtube.com/watch?v=a0R5orBZis8

39 thoughts on “And On Deck…My Husband

  1. I always wondered what it would be like to go to a Fantasy Camp, now I know. I am so excited for your husband! I have no doubt that he has transformed in a big 12 year old boy and it’s going to be a long week waiting for the festivities to begin…for both of you.
    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the necessities or should I say realities you thought to pack! Have a Blast Andy!

  2. Well you’ve described the tenor in the house perfectly!! A twelve year old’s anticipation in a 58 year old body…It’s really fun to see! And yes, somebody has to think like a grown up here – otherwise he’d just pack his uniform, cleats, glove and chewing gum!

  3. Well, after the rendition of “Put me in Coach”, the adrenaline is coursing through my veins. Honey, is it time to leave for the airport yet???

  4. It took me a full 60 seconds to find the keyboard I was chuckling so. You presented the visual in vivid living color. With raising three boys under your belt, you’re well prepared for the fourth. How wonderful to still be so in touch with your inner self including the courage it takes to take to the field. So, Andy, I wish you safe travels and eons of fun. Mimi, I wish you peace and freedom from angst; hoping that the ice packs and knee braces will never leave their boxes. The weather at Steinbrenner Field is supposed to be wonderful next week as well. Enjoy!

    • Oh believe me, the ice packs will be well used, the knee brace engaged during all games and sheer relief experienced at the hands of the trainers post-frivolity. 🙂 You know Andy – he will be in heaven. And I will find things to keep my little old self busy too…xoxox, m

    • I can guarantee both – wonderful memories and memorable muscle strains (my beloved is a bit of a baby when it comes to pain)..I’m so delighted that you got a smile from today’s post. It’s been a lot of fun to see his excitement amp up with each day…:-)

  5. Laughed and smiled all the way through this post, honey. It is *so* very important to stay in touch with our inner child, and it sounds like Andy has done a masterful job on this score. Bravo to him and to you for doing such a stellar job as his ‘bat girl.’ 😉 I hope he enjoys the heck out of himself and that you and the Sirs have an equally delightful time holding down the fort. 🙂

    “The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remain over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves” Kahlil Gibran

    xoxox, L

    • Wow Lori, I love that quote..it’s a wow. As you can imagine Andy is almost reaching the point where he can think, talk, focus, etc on nothing else. And as much as I get a kick out of his enthusiasm, I am just about ready to put down the pom-poms and send him leaping out into his field of dreams.
      The Sirs and I will attack some closets that are begging for attention, we’ll take our walks, I’ll see the kids..it’s all good..love you..xoox

      • The quote struck a chord with me as well, and I know you love Gibran, so….

        Sounds like next week will good a good week for you all–just as it should be. Love you, l

  6. Sounds like such a great experience and something that is so much fun! Glad he gets to participate in somethiing like this, and also can hear and feel your joy in this post!

  7. Mims…I love this post! You captured Andy’s total excitement, anticipation and joy perfectly…I almost feel like I am the one packing the bags to go! While I am glad that you and the Sirs will be holding down the fort; I think I secretly wish that you were going along so we could get a play by play. You did give us a great glimpse though! Cheers to Andy’s field of dreams 🙂 xoxo

    • Thanks BonBon..as much fun as it was to go last year, I think I’ll take a pass. While I really delight in all of this sophomoric-testosterone-coursing-boy/man-activity, there does come a point (to quote a Whitney Houston song) when one has to ‘exhale’….xoxox

  8. There are certain teams or institutions that find there way into a sports fan’s heart. For me, it is the Montreal Canadiens so I understand Andy’s passion for the Yankees although they are not my team. Enjoy Andy. You only live once.

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