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Adventure With Friends

Life Story Club Contributor

September 21, 2020

My friends and I growing up in the Bronx were very big sports fans. And one day I turned to somebody that I had been friendly with from birth and we were especially big fans of the Giants, the New York Giants football team. We used to listen and watch the games together, we would … you know, we were 12 years old, we would really root hard and live and die whether they won or lost the games. And I turned to him one day and I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we could actually meet some of these players?” So we ended up…I was 12 years old, I remember we ended up taking the subway to Yankee Stadium and we waited outside for a while because we knew that they practiced there. And then when they came out at the end of their practice walking to their cars and we got their autographs, we got to meet them. A lot of them were really, really, really, really nice guys.

We came home. We told the rest of our friends about what we had done. And then it became the big activity for the whole crowd of us. We expanded it. We would try to get autographs from the players outside of games. We’d find out what hotels the visiting teams were staying in, and we would go there. We had a tremendous, tremendous time.

The most meaningful part of this was when I had kids. When my kids were old enough to do that with me also, I asked them if they were interested in doing that. And both of the kids really got excited about doing this. So for years, I used to do that with my kids. We especially had one time when we were in Chicago when I found out where the Yankees were staying. And we booked the hotel on a family trip. I booked the hotel room in the same hotel where the Yankees were staying in Chicago. And I think my youngest son who is now 32, I think that was probably the most memorable weekend he had in all the years growing up. And now he is about to become a father and I’m thinking and hoping that if his daughter has some interest in sports, I’m hoping that as a grandfather that I could do that with her and just extend the family tradition and make it maybe a 70-year-old hobby or something.

Back when I was growing up in the Bronx, I was on Dekalb Avenue between 212 and 213 Street right near…a block and a half from Montefiore Hospital, across the street from Woodlawn Cemetery. It was a phenomenal place to grow up. You know, it was really a lot of fun. I grew up in a development that had 8 buildings and probably had at least 20 to 25 really good close friends out of those 8 buildings. It was really fantastic.

Now it’s very, very different now. Though I understand it’s coming back a little bit. But it was really a fabulous place to grow up. Where I grew up, now it’s very, very…it’s low-income housing. I don’t think it’s the safest place in the world. And I wouldn’t go there at night if I could avoid it, that’s for sure. I still have two friends literally from birth, and one of them still lives there actually.

But getting autographs from the Giants and the Yankees was also a way of getting out of the neighborhood. I mean, when you were 12 and 13 years old your whole world was extended about 3 blocks, and it was a chance for us to do something totally different together.

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