Teenage sadness and baseball sorrow
It’s stuck with me after all these years…it was a sunny Thursday afternoon, August 2nd 1979.
I was 15 yo when it happened and I still remember the chill and sadness it put into me. Collecting for my paper route was supposed to be an act of business, a means to an end to put money in my pocket. It was toward the end of my afternoon when I stepped into the yellow house on the corner to get my payment.
The TV was on. I’m thinkin the older lady was watching her soaps. Instead, on the screen was a special news report. I don’t remember much of what was said or how it was said but all that mattered was the newscaster solemnly told his audience was Thurman Munson, catcher and captain of the New York Yankees had died in a plane crash.
Honestly, I don’t remember if I stayed to get my payment or if I just left but i do remember running, running home to be alone. I didn’t want anyone to see me cry and to feel the hurt that I was feeling.
That evening and next day was a blur. I know I got up early the next morning to delivery my newspapers and I’m sure I read and re read how Thurman Munson died…Damn I was sad but nothing prepared me for that evening when the Yankees played at home against the Baltimore Orioles.
I usually watched the games with my dad but tonight I wanted to be alone, just in case I started to cry. Teenage boys don’t like to be seen crying.
Laying in front of the TV watching the pre game tributes in silence felt so surreal. How could they even think about playing, their captain has died! But, as clichéd as it sounds, he would have wanted it that way and…life does go on. And then, after the prayers and moments of silence, the applause began and didn’t stop until everyone had cried out their sadness.
The game went on and baseball was played.