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Sunday, October 20, 2019

I know that son No.1 was home for the holidays. I know this because I hung Welcome Home signs all over the house so he would find them in the least expected places (bathroom, staircase landing, refrigerator). I know this because I greeted him when he came home from the airport in a snood that I bought in Monsey because I knew it would make him laugh. (Not that there is anything wrong with wearing a snood, it just doesn’t go with my “Biggest Loser” sweatshirt.) I know this because I was counting down for two weeks before he came home. I know this because there was a third indentation in the couch cushions where he was sitting with his brothers playing Xbox and watching various sporting events (the Badgers were robbed...stupid refs…This was a reference to the final game of the final four against Duke, who cares, whatever, sorry for boring you). I also know this because when I, innocently, went up to his room to get his laundry, the floor, which only three weeks ago was immaculate and vacuumed, was now covered with mounds and mounds of baseball cards. Which only means one thing, that college basketball is over and the pitchers and catchers have come home to start the season of baseball.

In 1986, I along with I am sure many other teenage girls, had a crush on Keith Hernandez. He was the hot shot first baseman from the St. Louis Cardinals who was traded to my beloved New York Mets. I became a Mets fan via my dad. He had been a devout Brooklyn Dodgers fan who, when they defected to California, could not follow the Yankees so he became a Mets fan. Since I was a girl who loved her dad, I took an interest in the sport. Let’s rephrase, I took an interest in the cute guys who played the sport and Keith was my favorite. My mom preferred Ron Darling, the pitcher, but Keith was my man. I even purchased a Starting Lineup Action figure of my boyfriend. He became a fixture in my car when I started driving.

The year 1986 was a good one for me (what could be bad at 16?) and it was an even better year for my team. The problem is that was the last time they won a World Series. We Mets fans are made of a strong stock. Every year we are hopeful that this will be their year. Even as I am writing this, the game is on both TVs, because son No.1 likes to watch in solitude for fear that his Yankee fan brother will jinx the game for him (please tell me this happens in other homes…). Our record is 1-1 and we are currently beating the Washington Nationals. Michael Cuddyer, our new left-fielder just had his first hit. It is all very exciting. I am assuming that if I had three girls, we would be out shopping and getting our nails done (I actually just shuddered with fear), but I was dealt with my adorable testosterone-infused brood, and the house, right before a yom tov, is quiet except for the occasional cheer or boo (or screaming and yelling—it’s all good ’til someone ends up on the ER).

With the start of any season comes hope. When it is Rosh Hashanah, we are hopeful that the new year will bring us blessings and all good things. When winter starts, we are hopeful that we won’t get snowed in for four months. With spring, not only are we hopeful that we can stop wearing heavy coats and start smelling the flowers, we are hopeful that our team, our Mets, are not going to let us down. Truth is, even if they do, and they usually do, we still love them and stand by them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say that about select friends and family members? Hey, maybe that is a lesson as well!

My Keith Hernandez action figure got decapitated a few years ago. I tried to pop the head back into the body, but then the body cracked and it was a really sad state of affairs. I refused to go on Ebay to see what thief would try to rip me off with another one. I will always have the memories. The memories of 1986 when my Mets pulled together and brought home the pennant. And when I see the piles and piles of baseball cards on my son’s floor that he will, hopefully, put away before he gets on a plane, I am grateful for the memories that he is making with his brothers as they root for their team, my team. The Amazing Mets. This is their year…

Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who loves her boys and the mess they leave after they watch a baseball game. Good luck to their wives…

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow