Thursday, October 27, 2005

Anniversaries I

Tuesday night, Simchas Torah, was the 19th anniversary of Game 6. Because of how the Jewish calandar works, the Hebrew and English dates coincided.

On Simchas Torah night, 1986, a large group of us walked 2.5 miles to the local Jewish high school for "Hakafot." And yes, calling the gathering "hakafot," of course, was wishful thinking on the part of the organizers: 20 teenagers were inside with the Torah, while the rest of us - perhaps 150 teenagers in all - mingled on the lawn, chatting and flirting.

On the walk to the school, one of us peeked through the window of a bar to check the score. The Mets were losing 2-0. By the time we reached the school, it was 3-2 and late in the game. I was a casual Met fan at the time, hoping for a Mets win mostly for the bragging rights. When the rumor spread through the crowd that the Mets had lost in extra innings 5-3, I was more disapointed than I expected to be. I suppose I'd been looking forward to strutting in front of the local Yankee fans, boys who had done their share of strutting during the recent years of Yankee feasting and Met famine.

The rumor of the Met's loss, of course, was false. With a string of two-out, two-strike, extra inning hits, the Mets battled back from the brink and tied the score. Then, the ball, you will recall, got "through Buckner" allowing Ray Knight to dash home from second base. Or as Vin Scully put it. "Here comes Knight! And the Mets win it!" -- "it" being only the most improbable victory in World Series history.

I knew nothing about it until the next day. When I stumbled into shul, I found one of the ganze Met fans sitting in his seat reading a newspaper. No one objected, I suppose, because it was Simchas Torah, and for Simchas Torah reading a paper in shul is a fairly innocuous display of disrespect. And I certainly didn't object to the headline on the back cover, a headline which brought me the news of the Mets victory.

A preacher, I suppose, might use this story to illustrate the power of redemption, or to teach us that our situation can change in the blink of an eye. May ayvel l'yom tov and all that jazz, I suppose. But for me this incident, the most marvelous Met victory of all time, is simply an indelible memory of my teenage years.