The Giants Super Bowl win was significant for me, but this had nothing to do with the events on field. As a Manhattan native, I’m always glad to see a local team win a title, but this had little to do with my emotional response to a most unlikely championship. I didn’t even realize the implications until the very end, when I was suddenly struck by a somber but triumphant wave of nostalgic memories.
My first conversation with former Dean of Students Jimmy Williams began with a conversation about sports. We were in his office, and I noticed various items of New York sports memorabilia, including the Giants and Jets, our two football teams. I being a Jets fan, and Jimmy a Giants fan, we discussed the merits of the two franchises. I didn’t know Jimmy was a New Yorker until this point, and this friendly conversation created an instant sense of familiarity and camaraderie which was present throughout all my later encounters with Dean Williams, who I came to regarded as my closest friend within the Antioch administration. Jimmy’s recent selection as commencement speaker can be seen as a glorious return to his former community, and the Giants return to the top of professional football provides the perfect metaphor for his return to Antioch College.
For many people, sports don’t mean much, but for many others they represent a lot. A neighborhood friend named Joe recently departed the physical plain. Joe was an honest and loyal friend, and a diehard Giants fan. Their Super Bowl win was the kind of thing that he lived for, and I know their victory makes his spirit happy as he travels on the path towards reincarnation. Joe was certainly not one of my closest friends, but we did have a strong sense of mutual respect and we spent many hours playing poker, watching sports, listening to music, and talking about life. He was a couple of years older than I, and over time I began to see him as someone I could look up to. At times his life experience made him something like an advisor to me, and I miss our conversations. As I reminisce, I remember Joe laid-back in a fitted hat and a Giants jersey, and know that this one was for him.
For Joe, Jimmy, all the New Yorkers at Antioch, and all my family and friends back home, stay up and shine on, cause NY is back on top.