Saturday, July 2, 2011

Take Me Out to the... Yogi Berra Museum!

Yesterday I went to my grad school alma mater, Montclair State University, to finally see the Yogi Berra Museum. I worked for the Class A NJ Cardinals (a now-defunct affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) at Skylands Ballpark in Northern New Jersey the summer before I attended college. I have been a huge Yankee fan for as long as I can remember. Our recreation softball teams used to take us to Mets and Yankees games at the end of the season, and after my first game I was hooked. I was captivated by the Yankees ability to come back from a deficit to win an impossible game with a game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth...over and over again. They made me believe that if they could do that, I could do anything I set my mind to. 
Well as I grew up, I didn't really grow "up." I was always short, and I loved proving people that they were wrong to judge me by my size as a softball catcher and soccer goalie / defender. Other players thought they could knock me down and were amazed when I either didn't fall or when I got back up so quickly. It's not the size of the girl in the fight, it's the size of fight in the girl after all!
The most interesting thing I saw at the museum wasn't the glove he wore when he caught Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, it wasn't his MVP or Hall of Fame plaques, and it wasn't his 10 diamond encrusted World Series rings. It was a 2 page article he wrote for Highlights for Kids magazine about being bullied for being small and "ugly" when he was younger. He also told of how his best friend was signed to a major league contract and he wasn't. It was inspirational that a guy with only an 8th grade education and a hand injury while serving in the Navy after World War II was able to become so successful.
Well as for me, I made it to NCAA Division III soccer at Ramapo College, where I became a captain. I had a shoulder injury that made me unable to play softball, but I never let the Yankees or short little 3 time MVP, 10 time World Champion Yogi Berra ever leave my mind. After being laid off three times as a teacher the perseverance I learned through sports helped me earn a Masters degree after 4 years at... Montclair State University, in the same town where Yogi lives!
This summer I decided I was going to do a lot of things I had been putting off because life and work had always gotten in the way in past summers. One of those things is volunteering at Yogi's museum, where I am told he and many other sports figures make frequent appearances. I am posting pictures of the museum and field now, and hopefully one day I will post a picture of me with Yogi himself! I am going to be coming up with some education outreach stuff for the museum and I promise to share it with you!
If you're going to be anywhere near NJ this summer, be sure to stop by! Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students under 18. You can also catch a Jersey Jackals game while you're there! Jim Leyritz is scheduled to appear July 21, while Bernie Williams will be there on August 4.
I'm also attempting going to visit all 30 major league baseball parks before I turn 30...I've been to 12 already and have a year and a half to do the rest...wish me luck perseverance!
As for what lies for me in the year ahead, Yogi says, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future...... the game ain't over until it's over."

1 comment:

  1. Hi,I really like your blog it taught me lots on how to improve my blog

    See you soon,Lily.