Robert De Niro once said, “If it’s the right chair, it doesn’t take too long to get comfortable in it.” I don’t think he was talking to me, nor do I think he was referring to an actual chair, but his quote somehow applies to my Yankees fandom.
I watch the Yankees on an off-white, vintage recliner, armrests so worn that the thought of anyone under the age of 75 sitting in it would be a crime. A hand-knitted blanket from my grandma adds to the traditional design. But the calmness that this chair would typically invoke in any house or apartment is rudely replaced by the emotional response to sports. Many days between March and October I find myself sitting in this chair, then standing, then sitting again. A three-hour song and dance to the tune of a Yankees game (Broadway would be proud). Sometimes I wonder when this chair will give up, decide that the constant abuse is just not worth it anymore, and finally give in to the rigors of a full season. But for now, this is the spot that allows me to be fully immersed in the game.
If you surveyed Yankees fans, I’m sure you would get a variety of answers regarding what their preferred method of watching a game is:
AT THE BAR, capitalized for effect, knowing that if you asked someone ‘at the bar’ they certainly would have to yell it at you. This is my once-in-a-while type of Yankees-watching experience. For others, this is their happy place. I had a friend once tell me that he enjoyed going to bars to watch the Yankees because he liked knowing that other people cared about the things he cared about. Was this quote from my friend a desperate call for help? Maybe, but in a way, he does have a point because being a fan is less about the singularity and more about being crazy together as a group. I’m sure the beer helps, too.
The Stadium- Nostalgic, special, energetic. Next time, as you’re waiting in line for security at Yankee Stadium, take a second to look around as the fans emerge in droves from various sections of the Bronx. A sea of white and pinstripes, from the subway station to the parking garages, there is something special about a stadium placed in the middle of a city. Going to the stadium feels like an event. Give me an overpriced chicken bucket; nothing matters at that point because I’m in Yankee Stadium.
The commute home when no one bothers me and I can finally enjoy some peace and quiet while listening to or watching the Yankees- You may be asking yourself, “Is this category too specific? What is going on in this person’s life where they have to feel this way?” You’re may be right, this may not apply to many, but I know there is someone out there for whom it describes their experience.
As for me, I think you can tell by my elegant description of a recliner, that my preferred method of watching the game is in this chair. My chair has been through the good times and the bad. It represents how we are as fans: tough, reliable, and likely to have a screw loose that we don’t know about.
As we make our way through winter, players are preparing for spring training and making adjustments. As fans, we should do the same. Maybe it’s time for a new chair, but I think I’ll give it one more season.