I have something to confess. I don’t know how to say this. Well, maybe I do. I’m not ashamed of it, but I do admit it causes some people trouble. There are many that don’t like it and are very vocal about it. I am asked to defend myself…I am a New York Yankees fan.
What? You expected something worse didn’t you?
It’s true. I have been a Yankees fan for as mind as I can remember. I even had a book when I was a kid (30 + years ago) called On The Eighth Day God Created The Yankees. I admit, I was frustrated with the team with the whole A-Rod thing, but overall I have been a fan for a long time.
So, why the big reveal? What’s the big deal? I get asked about being a fan quite a lot. Why? My hat.
I wear my Yankees cap just about everywhere. If I could wear it to work I would, primarily to keep my head warm. What have I found? It is the biggest conversation starter I own. Apparently the NY symbol is very polarizing. Many people love the Yankees. Even more hate them. Lots of folks don’t care at all. I talk to all of them.
Not long ago I attended a new class at church. One of the guys there was a big Philadelphia Phillies fan. We took friendly jabs at each other. We both admitted we enjoy baseball and could agree to disagree on the best team. The hat was a vehicle for conversation and it was good.
Another time I was in a grocery store in North Ft. Worth. I walked up behind an elderly man and his wife at the checkout stand. He turned around and saw my hat and in his best Godfather voice says, “How you doin?” He then asked me “How long you been down here?” I told him I’ve lived down here all my life, but have been a fan for as long as I can remember. He smiles at me and says, “You know, my priest one time said to me ‘Harold, there are two types of people in the world. Good people and bad people. There are way more good people than bad.’ I can tell,” he says with a smile and a wink, “you are one of the good ones. Forget about it.”
First off, I was blown away by how kind he was to me. Here was a guy in his 80s that was identifying with me because of my hat. Also, a real New Yorker told me to forget about it. Get out of here.
There was another instance that wasn’t so good. My son had his Yankees cap on one day while playing video games with a group of boys he didn’t know that well. The boys in the room started to make fun of him because of his hat. My boy doesn’t even like baseball. He wears it to be like me. He was proud of it because he got it for his birthday. Him wearing it says something about his relationship with me. Unfortunately he experienced something uncomfortable from something that brings him joy.
I find it amazing that something as simple as a hat could be the driver for all of these events. It has been a great way for me to identify with people around something I enjoy, show my own individuality, and surprisingly a way to show my son how to deal with adversity.
What is the point? We are all different. We all enjoy different things. I believe our differences make us interesting and can actually draw us together. Or, we can agree to disagree and still get along.