I’m a diehard Yankees fan. I’ve been one ever since Alex was about six and became the Montclair Yankees’ mascot. What a ball we had going to all their games and rooting for them! We brought the same energy to watching the real Yankees battle their way to the World Series under Joe Torre. Even now, I sometimes enjoy reading in Alex’s room — and when I do, right above me hang all his Yankee posters. There’s one of the 1996 World Series, one of Bernie Williams, and one of a perfect game David Wells pitched. But my favorite poster is of Mickey Mantle: he’s not running the bases or catching a high fly; no, he’s just nonchalantly gazing out at the field, his bat gracefully slung over his shoulder.
Grace under pressure: to me that’s what the Yankees personify. When the going gets tough, somehow they manage to be totally focused and relaxed at the same time. As a writer, I find that same combination really makes my mind sing and my pen fly.
Bouncing back from a 3-to-1 game deficit just recently, the Yanks really strutted their stuff in game five, winning it by 7 to 2. And they did it, not with a do-or-die attitude, but by staying loose. “When it’s win or go home, you’ve got as much energy as you need, but we were very relaxed,” said one player. “We didn’t try to do too much. Guys were having fun, even with our backs to the wall.”
Even when they were three games down, manager Joe Girardi didn’t turn up the pressure, he eased it back. “Just go out, play your game, be aggressive, and do what you do,” that was the message Joe gave his team the night after their third loss. “That was huge,” said one of the players about the manager’s calm, no-stress attitude. “Just having us be able to relax and not panic.”
So often, when things aren’t going well with my writing, I can tense up and start worrying. But hey, if the Yankees can stay focused and relaxed in a clinch, why not me — and you?