Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Million-dollar Smile in my Old Neck of the Woods

I can't believe it went completely over my head yesterday, but February 16 was the one-year anniversary of the death of The Kid. Two days later, I wrote the following, which I believe says much more about my feelings towards the man than anything I could ever write today.


As the eulogies poured out over the internet the last day and a half, I didn't feel I could add anything to the pot. I never saw Gary Carter play, let alone in his prime. My experience of Gary Carter is from reruns, and I can only go off what others say they saw in the man in person. But as I read all there is to read around the internet about The Kid, I remembered an article I read a couple weeks ago that I believe says it best about the man.

Down the street and to the right of Palm Beach Atlantic University was my 293 Cordova Road home in West Palm Beach, Florida from 1991 to 1995. Gary Carter was the manager for this school's baseball team recently, and a couple weeks ago he made his final public appearance on opening day for the Sailfish. He looked frail, sitting in the golf cart as everyone approached him. While his body struggled for survival, life was filled throughout his being, and that Million-Dollar Smile that lit up so many photographs and an ivory soap commercial wasn't going anywhere.


He is not only filled with life, he fills everyone around him with life. No matter how close to death he is, he and nobody around him is going to let his sickness ruin loving life and every day you have, because that is what it is all about. And while unfortunately he could only stay 3 innings, the Sailfish won 3-2 in the 9th inning, a win The Kid I'm sure was proud of.

I don't know about you, but I think of death every day. I believe it keeps me grounded and less angry and helps put things in perspective. And we all think of it more when such a fantastic life is cut short. But that smile, that smile that irked so many players in the 70's and 80's, that is what it is all about. Love life and every minute of it, and always strive to make yourself better, always strive to evolve, no matter your age. And while we all need to vent sometimes, we should more often than not have that same smile on our face that The Kid has. Because life is awesome. And so is Number 8.


LET'S. GO. METS.

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