In My Write Mind
Here it is...
A GRAY MATTER
By William I. Dawson
Oh, they’re there. In fact, sometimes, in the middle of the night, I swear I can feel them carousing with one another, playing the blues while smoking tiny cigarettes perched up to a tiny bar, exchanging stories about their midlife crises, their rites of passage.
No. 1: “Yep, that was me…all black and curly, in the prime of my life when, in ’95, that dude named Reggie scored eight points in ten seconds…changed my life forever.”
No. 16: “Huh, you think that’s something…that was me in the fall of ’99, fresh off a trim, feeling good, nice and svelte, appreciating the chill in the air, when here comes Kenny Rogers walking in the winning run to end the season. I was no good after that.”
Those are the stories of a select few of New York’s Bravest—strands of hair, that is. They were once vibrant, colorful members of society, only to turn old and gray in a matter of moments, now limited to telling tales of teams fallin’ like an Alicia Keys song. They are barely alive, not so much on top of their game as they are on top of my head. Never has “rooting” for the home team taken on such literal meaning.
Each time a New York sports team—and they know who they are--prematurely and unexplainably ends its season, a premature, unexplainable gray hair pops up on my disbelieving scalp. And I swear I can count them all, and trace them to an ugly episode involving one New York team or another. Like when John Starks went 1-18 in Game 7 of the Finals in ’94. Or when the Jets went to Denver and found a way to lose to the vulnerable Broncos in the AFC championship game a few years back. Heck, I think I got four this past spring for each foul Allan Houston amassed in the atrocious Game 5 loss to the Raptors at the Garden. If only the hairs could be as invisible as Houston was that night.
True, the Yankees have been winning everything in sight--NOW. But that wasn’t always the case. Remember when the Bombers literally bombed by losing a two game advantage to the Seattle Mariners in ’95. Back in 1993, two words caused ten grays—Charles Smith.
Or how about when Patrick Ewing did the electric slide to the basket against the Pacers, only to attempt a FINGER ROLL instead of dunking the ball in that infamous Game 7 in 1996??? My pain is deep. Can’t you hear the blues? And you know what? Along with all of that disappointment, that betrayal by attrition comes this promise:
It will not happen again.
That’s right, you heard it here first. No longer will I put pressure on myself for New York to win. No longer will “I Still Believe!” be accompanied by “I Need Aleve!” No more headaches. No more stress. No more gray. Que será será! Whatever happens, happens. No more worrying about the Mets not being able to climb Braves’ Mountain. No more cringing each time Kurt Thomas commits a foul. No more wincing when Vinny from Elmont throws another interception.
I will focus on the positives, such as enjoying each Michael Strahan sack, or appreciating the domination of Mariano Rivera (see…I didn’t even mention last night). I will crystallize every fancy Mark Jackson assist, and sit in awe at the distance of each Mike Piazza home run. But that’s it. No more gray hair for me. I’m barely 30 and my hair has done enough aging…well, for the ages. With that said, don’t worry, I’ll still be a New York fan until the day I die.
I just hope my hair doesn’t beat me to it.
scribbled by Will at 11/06/2004 06:14:00 PM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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