A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
Did we win?
Evidently, yesterday was Yankees opening day! As I understand it, this was very important and exciting to a great many people, including a number of my own loved ones.
I wish I was among them. I do. But try as I might—and I really have tried—I cannot join in the fun. And I honestly feel badly about that. My life would be so much easier if I could muster up genuine enthusiasm for the Yankees, or any other team for that matter. For one thing, I wouldn’t be so bored at summer bar outings anymore, and the severe disdain my family has for me between April and October would somewhat dissipate.
Actually, I was born a Yankee fan. When he was growing up on the Lower East Side, my grandfather would take the train up to the Bronx for every single home game and sit in the free bleachers, since his family had no money. He remained a profound—and profane—fan until the day he died. I have fond memories of watching him watching the games on TV screaming, “Tartabull, ya f***in bum!” He, ah, sometimes forgot to watch his language around the children, but Danny Tartabull would do that to a guy. Or so I’ve heard.
Sadly, his passion never found a place in my heart. So it was with a knee-jerk Yankee affiliation that I went away to college in Boston, where suddenly everyone got mad at me for mildly stating said affiliation. So I said, fine, what do you want from me? They said, you have to like the Red Sox. So I said okay whatever, I like the Red Sox. Can I still like the Yankees? No, hell no, anything but that. It was clearly more important to them than it was to me. Then I moved back to NYC, this time with a Red Sox-loving boyfriend in tow. So again, everyone got mad at me, this time for defecting to the Boston team. But then my boyfriend would get upset if I started listing back towards the Yankees. I tried to have a backbone about it, but they wore me out, those people. So I decided to like no one. And everyone.
I’ve been pretending with angry fans in my life for too long, so I’m going to come out and say it: I like the Yankees! I like the Red Sox, too. And hey, I like the Mets! I know this is completely unacceptable. Mostly, I just don’t want my friends to be angry when their teams lose, because it’s really not fun for me. Also, I don’t want to watch any of them play unless I’m at a stadium with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other. I know I just made everyone in two tri-state areas angry at me, but what am I supposed to do? I’m the person at the game who feels bad for the guys who lose because they’re probably really sad. I once attended a Red Sox/Yankees game in Boston with a fan of either team. When whoever lost and whichever friend was upset, my only thought for her was: “Well, someone had to lose. You’ll get ‘em next time!” It kind of worked, because instead of being angry at each other, both friends turned on me.
So, for those of you who love the Yankees, I hope yesterday’s game was great. For those of you who like the Red Sox or the Mets, I hope your openers go well, too. I just hope we won.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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