The Garden City Telegram

Experiencing the greatness in people

I rarely get to see greatness in person, but recently I had that opportunity.

The family made a pilgrimage to Kansas City last weekend to watch the New York Yankees play the Kansas City Royals.

Although we love baseball, the whole purpose of the trip was to see retiring Yankee and future hall of famer Derek Jeter.

He is one of my son, Alek's, favorite players, and maybe the first player he looked up to.

So when we talked about Jeter coming to Kansas City, we knew we had to go.

It was a quick weekend trip, but it sure was fun.

If you're a sports fan, you understand that feeling I get when I walk into a stadium.

It's the anticipation, the excitement of what I'm about to see.

I don't get to enough games for that feeling to ever wear off. I don't get used to going to games because it's not something we get to do on a regular basis.

I've been fortunate enough to attend a College World Series game every year for the past several years, but I usually just get to one game, so there's no feeling of familiarity or routine about it.

Just walking up to Kauffman Stadium, the excitement starts to build. Part of me cannot believe I actually get the opportunity to be there.

I didn't grow up going to games.

When I was a kid, I saw a few games in Kansas City, and, since I've gotten older, we've also traveled to Minnesota, Colorado, Anaheim and St. Louis a couple times.

That's not a lot of trips, but maybe that's what makes each game special.

The only feeling I have that I would ever want to live in or near a large city is so I could be a regular at games.

I don't understand fans who do not support their teams when I would love to be able to go to games.

I know games are expensive forms of entertainment; that's why our trips are few and infrequent. But if I was able to go every couple weeks, I wouldn't need expensive tickets, and concessions and souvenirs wouldn't be necessary every game because I would be back in a couple weeks.

So our trip to see Jeter was special because it was the first and likely only time we'll see him play in person.

I would like to say he turned back the clock and was the star of the game, but that didn't happen.

In truth it didn't matter. He had a hit in four at-bats, and the Royals won easily.

I was amazed at the number of New York fans there. At one point, Alek turned to me and asked if this was a Yankee home game.

That's the power of Jeter and the Yankees.

I'm a little embarrassed to say I forgot about another likely hall of famer, Ichiro Suzuki.

He came to Seattle from Japan originally, already a star there, and has had a brilliant career in the majors. He had a pinch-hit single.

I'm not one of those who can say I was there when great things happen. I am one of the millions who watch great things happen on television.

But for one night, I got to see two of the great players, and that's pretty cool.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram