As I entered my barber shop this morning, I got to the door at the same time as the kid who parked next to me. When I noticed he was wearing a Brooklyn Cyclones cap, I asked him if he was a fan. Turns out, he played for them this summer.
This was a big deal for me. You don't see a lot of Cyclophernalia around here, and I've been a big fan since the franchise came to be in 2001. When I lived in New York City, I often made the trek to Coney Island to sit a few rows off the field, in a stadium a few hundred yards off the beach, with a Nathan's hot dog in one hand and a program in the other. (Fun fact! It actually takes less time for me to fly from Detroit to LaGuardia than to ride the subway from Inwood to Surf Ave. I used to get off the train and earnestly wonder if Obama was still president.)
While we were waiting, we talked about his summer experience living in Brooklyn. The team lived in a hotel not far from the Barclays Center, and they were bused to and from the stadium for every home game. They didn't see much of the boardwalk, the carnies, or the Cyclone itself. Furthermore, since they had only a few nights off all season long, they didn't even see much of the rest of the city, either. For the most part, his summer was spent in a hermetic bubble of play, practice, travel, and hanging out playing video games.
At one point, another guy in the shop asked him whether he was playing in any developmental leagues over the winter, and he said, "I think I might be a little old for that." And since I am me, I made a crack about how I have clothes older than he. (I was specifically referencing my R.E.M. Green concert t-shirt, which is almost old enough to run for Congress, and would likely govern more effectively.)
We laughed and shot the shit, as you do in barber shops. It was convivial and manly and fun, and I was enjoying myself.
Then, as the kid left, he said, "Great to meet you, sir!" And my guts jumped off a bridge.