I became a NY Yankee fan in the 1990s, when I went to NYC for college. It was the Joe Torre era, and baseball in NY was exciting. Going to multiple games at Yankee Stadium with college friends, it was tough not to fall in love with it. When I started dating Don, my late husband, he wasn’t really into baseball. He said it was boring, and asked me how I could watch an entire game without falling asleep. I told him if he understood the strategy, it’s the furthest thing from boring.
When he moved to NY to start our life together, he understood. He became a huge Yankees fan too, bigger than I could have ever imagined. He was hooked. He would watch pre-game show, post-game show, and everything in between. When we watched a game together on TV, he would talk nonstop, analyzing the pitcher or hitters next move. It is a thinking man’s game, and my husband was a thinker. This was his sport. WE went to lots of Yankees games together. In NYC, in Florida during spring training – we had a blast, and so many memories. My love for the Yankees is my own, but it’s also very much connected to my relationship with Don. It was one of “our things” that we truly enjoyed together – a great Yankees game.
When he died, it took a long time for me to go back to my Yankees. At first, I watched an inning at a time. Or maybe two innings. Then I’d have to shut it off. It was too lonely without his commentary and back and forth conversation. After a while, I went back to Yankee Stadium. I went with good friends. We felt his spirit there, we felt him close. It was comforting.
Last year, I moved back to Massachusetts, my birth state. 10 months ago, I met and fell in love with a wonderful man named Nick. Nick is a die-hard Bruins and Red Sox fan. I love the rivalry between NY and Boston. It’s so much fun. Last night, Nick and I went to our very first Red Sox/Yankees game together, at Fenway Park. We had so much fun. It was a blast, joking and bantering back and forth about our opposing teams, teasing each other, making lighthearted bets about the outcome of the game. It felt really nice to have a partner to enjoy baseball with again, although I’m enjoying it in a different way.
And that’s the thing about new relationships, new love, and love after loss. There are things, specific things, that I miss about my relationship with Don. I will always miss those things, because he is no longer here, and I miss him as a person. I miss my fellow Yankee fan. I miss sharing a team and talking about our team and the trades and the pitching staff and everything else. I miss being on the same side.
It’s a very different experience when your partner is a fan of the opposing team. I told Nick last night: “It’s weird, because we can never be happy at the same time, ever. At the end of each game, one of us will be happy, and the other one will be sad. ” The Red Sox won last night, so Nick was happy, and I was sad. But then I thought about it, and I wasn’t really sad. Yes, I wish my team won, but I was happy for my guy, really happy, that his team won, on the anniversary of his late mom’s birthday. She was also a huge Red Sox fan, so it made me smile that maybe that win helped him to feel her presence with us on that day.
The thing is, we love people differently. So I can still miss the things that I miss having with Don – but none of that means that I don’t absolutely love what I have with Nick. I love Nick differently than how I loved Don. They are different people. I’m different. And loving someone when both of you have never been widowed, like with me and Don, is a different love. Loving someone when one person is widowed and one isn’t, is another different love. Two Yankee fans loving each other is a different love than a Red Sox fan and Yankee fan coming together in harmony. I am grateful for all of the pieces that make up this dynamic of love, and all the many layers it has.
There will always be parts of me that miss my old life, mostly because it was unfinished, and I will never get to know how it would have turned out. But at the exact same time, this life that I’m living now, is so very special to me, and the love we have created together, is different than any other love, I have ever known.
I carry all of the love with me, and I cherish and embrace every bit of it, unapologetically.