A Moment in the Sun
A summer day in Yankee stadium is an extraordinary engagement of the senses. The smell of cotton candy and popcorn, mixed with the freshly cut grass fill the warm air; and surround you like a blanket. The sounds of the children laughing, the roar of the crowd after a long single is hustled into a double, or the seventh inning recitals of “take me out to the ball game.” The vision of excitement and agony take turns on the faces of the fans, as the eyes are torn between the magic of the game and the spectacles in the crowd. The feel of the summer breeze lightly kissing the back of your neck.
The ballpark is where we go to escape from reality, if only for a little while. We lose ourselves in the game, in the experience. We hide from our inhibitions, our fears, our sorrows. We clear our minds of ‘real’ life, and let our imaginations carry us away. Away from tragedy, and misfortune, and heartbreak…..but not today.
On this somber day we reflect on a career, a historical career, cut short. Our captain, who led us through victory and defeat, can lead us no more. The ‘iron horse’, who has been the model of toughness and strength, was all but a shell of himself as he walked out in front of 62,000 friends. Unable to escape their reality any longer, the crowd was forced to face the tragedy, as tears filled their eyes watching their fallen hero make his way to the center of the diamond.
Just before Gehrig approached the microphone, the crowd bursts into a roaring applause, sending their love the only way they know how. Humbled by the moment, Gehrig stops to collect himself, before addressing the thousands of lives he touched throughout the years. It would have been understandable for him to feel sorry for himself. Sorry for such a promising career cut short….or the life of an extraordinary human about to be taken far too soon. It would have been understandable. But it would not have been Lou Gehrig. Gehrig stood tall in the face of tragedy, in the face of ALS, and proclaimed that he regretted nothing. That he lived and loved, and experienced the life that most couldn’t even dream of. Instead of wondering what could have been, Gehrig cherished what was….as he proclaimed: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Today, July 4th 1939….Lou Gehrig declared his own Independence Day. Independent to choose the way he wanted to live life. Not constrained by the regrets of a career and life left unfinished, but rather embracing the blessings of a life lived to the fullest. Being apart of this special event is something that I will not soon forget, but you didn’t have to be one of the fortunate who filled Yankee stadium today to benefit from Gehrig’s message. His message transcends the game of baseball….live life with passion and without regret, and be thankful for everyday, every moment you have in the sun.
information for this post was collected from:
video of Lou Gehrig’s speech can be seen here: