“You know, db, I have thought about that a lot lately. Last year, I qualified to be here by making the top cut; but this year, to tell you the honest truth, this year means more to me than last year.”
I say nothing. Gerald is talking but it is the humming of Aunt Noreen that I hear…come on Gerald…bring the pasta home…
“I was sitting up in my tree stand the other day, and it really hit me…humbled me, db. Dang humbled me. Fifteen years in this sport, and I’m humbled by the ultimate compliment given to me by the fans.”
Eye to eye, “It down right just means more to me this year.”
And, “I want the fans to know that I will honor them back. I want them to know that I’m just Gerald; you get what you get. But that the bottom line is I’m the same guy who came down off building the houses and put down my nail gun to pick up this sport. I’m the same guy, same as they are, and I will honor them back.”
Uncle Sibby told me once that, “I loved being a player, Donnie, but it was the game that I loved the most…the game…that was there before me…and was still there after I left. I played the game as if it was a gift, and it was, it is.”
Play the game as if it was a gift,
because it is.
Just ask the dude who sweeps asphalt for a living.
Just ask the dude who pours steel for a living.
Just ask the roofer on a hot day.
Or the cop on a freezing day.
Or the fireman in the smoke.
To play the game, is a gift.
It is a gift we bestow on the athletes.
It is a gift the fans of the game have given you.
Be humbled, sure.
But show us your heart.
Give the fans back the honor they have given you.
Know this, some night during this All-Star event I’m going to take Gerald out for dinner, and it will be on me, won’t find it on an expense report.
And, for Gerald, I will order spaghetti.
And we will toast utility players,
and their fans.
“…and he did not know how well he sang, it just made him whole.”