My first time

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 9.55.45 PMDigging through a mound of photos in the attic yesterday, I stumbled upon the above image. It’s Jeff Pearlman, age 21, covering his first Major League game.

Man, was I nervous.

I was, at the time, sports editor of The Review, the University of Delaware’s student newspaper. Derrick May was a Newark, Del. native who was coming to town as a member of the Chicago Cubs. I asked the Phillies for a credential—and, shockingly, was given one.

So there I stood—boat shoes, $5 tie, collared shirt that I think I bought for my high school graduation. I entered the Vet and—before doing anything else—walked onto the field, where this picture was snapped. Now, 41 and jaded, the magic and power and passion of a professional stadium is sorta lost on me. I’ve seen the little man behind the curtain, and he’s not so impressive.

Back then, however—wow! I approached Derrick, and he agreed to sit and chat in the dugout. Which was … FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!!!!! He was nice and courteous and … and … and … I was 21! Talking to a Cub! Inside the dugout! In the Vet! I tried and play it cool, but there’s nothing cool about a 160-pound college geek in boat shoes.

I don’t recall the story that ran, or how I even got to the game, or what I ate, or who I sat alongside in the press box.

All I know is, well, I was there.

I mattered.