So I just had an interesting conversation with a co-worker and someone I truly like to call my friend. Him and I like to bounce these hypotheticals back and forth and also ask our opinions on certain things, mainly sports though. He will ask me who I think the greatest basketball player is and any answer other than Michael Jordan is wrong and he doesn’t want to hear why you think so. I’ll ask him who he thinks the greatest baseball player is and any answer short of Mickey Mantle, although I will hear you out, usually falls on deaf ears for me. This morning though he asked me a question that really made me scratch my head and think so I wanted to share a little bit more of me, our new direction here on the site, and share my answer with you all.
I was asked the question if I could sit down and share one meal with any athlete from any sport, alive or dead, who would I sit down with? For some odd reason, and this is an example of a time you definitely do not want to go with your gut reaction, the first athlete that popped into my head was Connor McGregor from the UFC. Of all the athletes that ever graced this Earth I wanted to sit down with one of the biggest crap talkers in all of the UFC for whatever reason. Now this thought never left my head, until now, and as I sat there I couldn’t get another recent and great athlete out of my mind. I feared I would disappoint him with my answer but it was the only answer that I had so I just went out with it. Derek Jeter.
He didn’t say much, maybe out of respect for me or maybe because it was actually a good answer, except shake his head and give me one of those “I’m your friend so I am going to agree with you but I don’t really agree with you” type of dismissive gestures and he had to go back to work. Sitting here thinking on it though after the fact I don’t think I would change my answer in the slightest.
I was born in November of 1985 so right around the time I was really getting into baseball the Yankees were introducing this rookie shortstop to the club, Derek Jeter. After watching Jeter help lead the Yankees to the World Series in 1996 I became all consumed by him. I wanted to play shortstop in Little League and I wanted to wear #2. I emulated his stance, although I couldn’t hit for crap with it and quickly scrapped that idea after a couple 0-4 and 0-5 days, and I counted the years until I could take his position. I figured if I was 25 when I reached the Major Leagues that Jeter would be 36 and would be delegated to designated hitter duties or ready to retire by then. Boy was I wrong but keep in mind that I was about 10-or-11 years old at the time. I wanted to not only be Derek Jeter but I wanted to replace and eclipse Derek Jeter, because that’s my nature.
As I grew older I grew farther from Jeter and leaned more in the Alex Rodriguez direction. Sure, hindsight being what it is, that was probably the “wrong” decision but it was the decision I made with my fandom and I stick with it today. That doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t like to sit down with him and his wife, Hannah Jeter, and have a discussion. The things that Jeter must have seen and never talked about. Could you imagine the stories you could hear if you got him to open up just a little? Could you imagine his sarcastic and witty response to the gift basket rumors or this rumor or that rumor if he knew that what he said wouldn’t be repeated or recorded?
Could you imagine? I’d be a better leader and a better person just from having a conversation with the man, let alone if he decided he liked my witty, magnetic, creative and humble personality and decided to mentor me or whatever. Jeter is that kind of person, I assume anyway because no one reading this probably truly knows Jeter except for Jeter himself and his wife and family, that just makes you want to be the best version of you just to keep pace with him. That is the kind of person I want to be and that is the kind of person I want to spend all my extra and free time with for the rest of my life, someone who makes me want to be the best Daniel Burch that I can be.
So Jeter if you’re reading this, and you shouldn’t be because you have your own blog to maintain and a nursery to set up, I’d choose you. I’d choose you every time. If you’re ever in Ellijay, GA, which again you won’t be… just take my word for it haha, hit me up. I’m the only one down here with the Yankees hat on.