Frank Francisco, the closer and one of many question marks for the 2012 New York Mets, stared into his catcher looking for the sign. Not the existential “sign” about his and his team’s future, but the next pitch to throw to Jason Heyward. Francisco blew a 3-2 fastball by Heyward and Howie Rose yelled out in glee, “Put it in the books!” Or so I imagined because I was at the game, and Rose is only accessible via the radio. But you get the point. The Mets began their season with a win. And I was there, at Citi Field, to enjoy it with some great pals on a beautifully warm and sunny day.
It’s a yearly ritual I relish (pun intended). I love waking up on Opening Day. I love singing, dancing and laughing to my Opening Day song with my wife and daughter. It goes a little something like this, “It’s Opening Day, Opening Day. Opening, Opening, Opening Day!”
(Yes, that’s it.)
I love wishing everyone I come across a “Happy Opening Day.” I love hopping on the 7 and hopping off at Willets Point. I love searching for and finding my friends in the parking lot and giving them a bro hug when I see them. I love tailgating with them. I love scoring tickets and paying half of what the Mets wanted me to. I love walking into the park. I love peeking through the girders, seats and fans scurrying to their seats, to get a glimpse of the field; everything is so bright and vivid. I love settling down in the Pepsi Porch. I love the camaraderie fans have with each other and being a part of it. I love talking to everyone in the park. I could go on and on and on about the actual experience but what I need to get across for the purpose of this post is that I love the hope, even though this year it’s so, so, so small, we all share at the start of every season. And this year, I’m excited to root “hard” for the underdog. It’s going to be an incredible challenge for the Mets to win, but as in 1973 when Tug McGraw rallied us with “Ya Gotta Believe,” so too do we now need to heed that advice. And I do believe in them. Just like I believe in myself. And, just as the Mets got a huge win on Thursday, so did I with my acceptance to the Jumpstart program.
I’m so fired up for Jumpstart. I’ve been itching to get into this program since I found out about it in January. I was so excited that I ignored my rule of thumb by telling EVERYONE about it (as you know). I don’t like exposing myself to the possibility of having to tell EVERYONE I didn’t make the cut. But I worked hard on my essays, and I made the contacts I needed to make. All that was left was for the powers that be to tell me I deserved it and was wanted. It sure felt a lot like when I applied for early acceptance to Binghamton. I would run home every day to check the mailbox for that letter. Fast-forward some twenty-odd years and I was preparing to hit the refresh button on my browser as often as I could. But I didn’t need to. Jumpstart spared me the indignity of bumping into everyone on the street because my face would have been glued to my gmail account on my really smart phone. I was under the impression they would start sending out acceptance emails on Monday, April 2nd, so you can imagine my surprise and excitement when an email titled, “Jumpstart NYC 10.0 Acceptance” popped up in my inbox the Thursday before. I let out a roar, hopped out of my seat and landed in a warrior pose while doing what I imagined was a backhanded righty karate chop slicing the air parallel to the ground. That’s just what I do.
I start next Monday. It’s a great step for me in the right direction. World… it’s on!