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Last fall, my mother was able to snag four tickets to Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. The Arizona Diamondbacks, my home team, were taking on the New York Yankees. We had an extra ticket, and since my brother was studying in Europe, I invited my friend, Justin. As we stepped into section 318, I could smell beer on the breath of an already drunken fan. We climbed up what seemed like thousands of stairs, crushing peanut shells and popcorn under our feet and stepping into puddles of unknown sticky liquids. Beads of sweat began to run down my forehead as I got whacked in the face by random posters and banners. One rowdy fellow was even kind enough to share some of his Miller Lite with my favorite shorts. It was one of the best days of my life.
When we got to our seats and looked out into the stadium, we saw the most incredible sight. Every spectator had been given a white pom-pom upon entering the stadium, and nearly all of the 50,000 fans were cheering for the Diamondbacks. The crowd looked like a sea of white tentacles, rhythmically pulsating as if the stadium had its own heartbeat. The intensity in the stadium was a blend of excitement, anxiety and tension. When the national anthem began, a wave of pride began to swell up in my chest. As blazing red fireworks shot over the field, a stealth bomber flew over the ballpark like an eagle protecting its nest. An emotion ran through my body like an electric shock. As I turned to my friend, I realized he too had tears in his eyes. Less than two months after September 11th, our nation was enjoying its favorite pastime, and no terrorist organization could stop that.
After five scoreless innings, the Diamondbacks took a one run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Derek Jeter quickly answered by scoring in the seventh for the Yankees to tie it up. When Alfonso Soriano stepped up to the plate in the top of the eighth, my heart sank. A feeling of dread came over my body. I knew this would be Curt Schilling’s final batter. At that instant, Soriano smacked a monster homerun into left center field, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Over the next inning, I felt like I was watching an hourglass pour the last of its sand into the bottom. Time was running out and it seemed that the invincible Yankees were about to win another World Series2E With Mariano Rivera on the mound, the man who hadn’t given up a World Series game since 1997, it was almost certain the Diamondbacks would become another fallen challenger. But in the bottom of the ninth, Luis Gonzalez proved the world wrong by hitting the game-winning single to win the 2001 World Series.
Hysteria filled the stadium as the Diamondback dugout emptied and formed a mob in the middle of the field. After two hours of hugging random people and ‘high fiving’ everyone in sight, we drove all the way home with the windows rolled down, honking the horn and celebrating. That was one of the best memories of my life. It reminds me the emotion I felt for my country that night. It reminds me of how many opportunities my parents have given me in my childhood. I got to see my favorite baseball team win the World Series with my best friend sitting next to me. Sixty years from now, when I’m old and gray, I’ll still be telling this story.
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