September 30, 2014
Thank you, Derek. My son named our dog after you.
An act of heresy, some would say, since we live three miles from Fenway Park, the heart of Red Sox Nation.
When I walk our two year old chocolate Lab, Jeter, down Beacon street, I have been a little sheepish when asked his name. “At least, we didn’t name him A-Rod,” I say. Given the famed Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, I count on his winning doggie charm to give us a pass.
The Yankees loom large in my household. My husband who grew up in Connecticut, takes a trip every year to a game at Yankee Stadium with his two sons. Naming the dog after a Yankee was part of the agreement for having him. My stepson’s college essay, titled “Behind Enemy Lines,” was about the fortitude needed to grow up a Yankees fan in Red Sox land. He graduated from Fordham, near the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. How fitting that Tino Martinez was the graduation speaker.
I did not grow up in a sports household. I grew up in a news one. We bonded over headlines not RBI stats. We gathered around the television to watch Roger Mudd deliver the evening news. It was here that my sense of civics was formed. But of course, journalism was different then.
I want to pass those values onto my twelve year old. I figured that a little bit of lite news from Good Morning America as we got breakfast, would help. But even breakfast TV started getting heavy and more salacious: the Jodi Arias murder trial, Miley Cyrus twerking, extreme weather, Malaysia plane crash, kidnappings.
I switched to ESPN, counting on values espoused by athletic achievement. Then came steroid scandals, the Hernandez murder indictment, the Ray Rice cold cocking elevator video.
The last few days the Yankees transfixed all of us in our Boston area home. On Thursday, as you choked back emotions at your last game at Yankee stadium, I attempted to take a picture of our Jeter-dog wearing a Yankees cap. He tried to eat it, typical Lab that he is, making us question his baseball allegiance.
Sunday’s send-off festivities at Fenway Park in your honor, just underscored just how contagious respect can be.
When I walked down Beacon street yesterday, our Jeter-dog’s tail is held a little higher. I am no longer sheepish, but can’t wait to introduce him.
And as for my son, it sure is wicked good to find a hero.
Photo credits: Miranda Daniloff Mancusi
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