Rooting for your home team in a foreign land can be.. well..deflating. This was cemented for me after moving into the DC area from NYC recently. We were attending a WWT tennis match between the NY Empires and the Washington DC Kastles, when it became immediately clear that, in a packed stadium in DC, only myself, my daughter, and the coach were rooting for the New York team.
The home court advantage has never been more clearly observed. I and the coach yelled and clapped til the end, even as the hope of victory slipped further and further from the team's grasp. My teenage daughter is strong, but surrounded by DC cheerleaders, mascots and roaring fans, she fell silent and even asked me to calm down a time or two.
Fast Forward to this week. Our daughter, yes the same one, surprised us with tickets to a Mets Game against the Orioles at Camden Yard. I was looking forward to seeing our Mets play and yet the memory of being a one woman cheering section was still so fresh and painful in my mind.
And yet, as we began walking toward the stadium amongst the wave of Orange shirts we saw wonderful flecks of royal blue jerseys. We acknowledged each other with smiles and nods and I was encouraged, but not yet comforted. It was a big stadium after all. Would we be scattered and drowned out once again?
We made it to our seats and tentativey looked around. I thought my heart would explode with joy. Though my homesick eyes may have played a trick on me, It looked to me as if everyone left of home plate was wearing blue. As if every Met Fan that day had bought tickets behind the Mets dugout and were united in purpose: To cheer for their home team, who were away from home and needed their support.
The first time the Mets got on base and we all roared together, I got goosebumps and for a moment I felt they were cheering for us as well. We too were also far from home and that day those devoted Mets fans brought a slice of NYC to us and for the first time since we moved I felt not only happy and comfortable, because I am both these things, but I also felt... home. Home amongst my fellow Met Fans once again and 'root root root'ing for our home team.
I learned 5 valuable lessons that day.
1. The importance of not letting a difficultly today prevent me from continuing to follow through with optimism for tomorrow.
2. It reminded me that sometimes the world can be very loud and there is danger of letting it drown out our own voice. That the struggle of that can feel very confidence-shatteringly real if your not on your guard.
3. It reminded me that, while sometimes it is necessary to go it alone, that going it alone is not the goal. Support is wonderful and success means more when it’s shared with others.
4. It reminds me that even those things that may not look like a ‘win’ to the rest of the world, the experience alone can mean a world of progress and growth for me.
5. It reminds me that my life is not about confetti cannoned celebrations, though those are fun too, it is about what I learn along the way and how I use what I learn to raise myself and lift the others around me.
We didn’t win that night. In fact, we lost 6-3, but it was a wonderful night. It filled a need I didn’t even realize I had: It was as if our family had been teleported back to Shea and back to our home town. (okay okay Citi-field, but you know what I mean!) Thank you fellow Met Fans. It was good to be among you and I can’t wait to share a stadium with you again, wherever you may roam to support an amazing team and it’s transplanted fans! Thanks for the reminders and for the memories.
#homesick, #NYMets, #Baseball, #Fans, #NYC, #WashingtonKastles #NewYorkEmpires #Tennis #home #Goals #stress #Baltimore #Orioles #CitiField #
Like smelling coffee beans after having evaluated one too many colognes, I need a reset in my day after tackling several related things. For me that reset often comes in the form of picking up a book of poetry or verse. Why verse? I think it's because it requires me to slow down and focus in an entirely different way.
Making that switch from thinking one way to thinking another is like a mini-massage for my mind. My brain literally loves it. I come away from those pages renewed and ready to tackle the rest of my day.
Sometimes the poetry book I pick up is one that was given to me by my brother, Douglass Guy, a poet in his own right, several years ago.
The inscription from him read:
For the courage it takes to walk in your shoes, I offer the steps of another.
Since receiving the book it has always been sentimentally close at hand. Even thru a major round of downsizing precipitated by a relocation and the giving away of 3/4th of our home library, this book, remains with me.
The book is a collection of prose poetry by Mary Oliver who passed away today.
My first thought when I heard of Mary Oliver's passing, wasn't of her Pulitzer Prize or her volume of works or even of loss, a topic she had always dealt with with such honesty. It was of gratitude. For my brother and for her. Her themes were so often about gratitude. And I felt gratitude for the many times over the years, that her turn of phrase delighted me.
I have often been comforted by the way she marveled at the capacity we have to be humans and to be both humble and resilient in our humanity.
There are two excepts from her work that I have nearly memorized over the years. The first is from her poem “Messenger”. I included only a brief excerpt above but I’ll include a link to the entire poem at the end and invite you to take a few moments to breathe it in.
The second is from her poem, “Heavy”, which I always think of in three parts, though it is not really written that way. The second 'part' always resonates with me.
In my feeble attempt to help you to see it the way I see it, I’ve played with the font of the text a bit, but otherwise it is presented as she intended. I invite you, if a bit of a brain shift is needed in your day, to take a moment to breathe this in, perhaps twice, and see if it provides the mini-vacation for you, that it does for me.
Rest in Peace, Mary and thank you.
Heavy, By Mary Oliver
I thought I could not
Go any closer to grief
I went closer,
And I did not die.
Surely God had His hand in this,
As well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
And my laughter,
As the poet said,
Was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry
But how you carry it-
Books, bricks, grief-
It’s all in the way
You embrace it, balance it, carry it
When you cannot, and would not,
Put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
to which there is no reply?
- Mary Oliver, 1935-2019
Let us all be brave and bring our talent to the world. When we do so we are all lifted.
By Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
Equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
Keep my mind on what matters,
Which is my work,
Which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoincing, since all the ingredients are there,
Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a hear
And these body-clothes,
A mouth with which to give shouts of joy
To the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
Telling them all, over and over, how it is
That we live forever.
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