Sunday, September 28, 2014

Once a Yankee

Always a Yankee...Thanks Grandpa!
September 2014 

This year marked the end of baseball and Yankee great Derek Jeter's career and as I watched his last home game in Yankee stadium I was very emotional remembering why I LOVE baseball and the Yankees in the first place. My grandfather, sister and I share a true love for Yankees baseball and Derek Jeter is more than likely the last Yankee my grandfather would have known so closing this season and this player out, as Jeter retires, has been emotionally difficult for me. Derek Jeter and Yankees baseball have developed so many memories for me.

Grandpa and Grandma Pat

My Family Sharing Baseball with ME
I grew up loving baseball and I owe that to my dad who was the definition of a true baseball fan. In fact, before I was even born there was talk of naming me "Homer" (Can you imagine that now with all the Homer Simpson references?) because my dad liked baseball so much. Luckily, I was a girl and that name seemed inappropriate but I literally came out of the womb with baseball shaped heart. There is a famous picture of my dad holding me as a 2-3 week old wearing matching Kansas City Royals t-shirts and it remains one of my favorite pictures of all time. 

One of the greatest pictures of all time! 

It all Began with Grandpa Sharing Baseball with ME
When I was a young girl and my sister and I would visit my grandfather in Wichita, KS during the summer we would go downstairs to find him sitting in his chair watch a Yankees game and filling out his baseball score card. He loved baseball and always had a heart for the Yankees. During his lifetime the Yankees were really good and America's team. He told me once "I grew up watching the Yankees play because they were the only team on TV or radio. I watched Babe Ruth and wanted to be just like him. I wanted to grow up and play baseball for the Yankees." I remember sitting in his lap or in the chair right beside him and just dreaming of playing for the Yankees too, despite being a girl. He had Yankees shirts, jackets and other memorabilia all around his house and he literally was a TRUE fan.

I remember learning all about Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Clemens as so many more as they came out. They were no-name baseball players back in 1995-1996 but Grandpa already knew about them and their potential and he had high hopes. You were right Grandpa... They turned out to be truly GREAT PLAYERS! Grandpa would spout off statistics about their batting average or home runs for the season before we could get out of the car when we came to his house. The great Yankee legacy team of the late 1990's and early 2000's was practically all we talked about.

These are "my boys" and the topic of many discussions with my Grandpa.
As Derek Jeter tips his hat at his final home game, I can't help but think of all the
memories these Yankee greats have created for my sister and I. And all of these memories are based around my Grandpa! 

In addition to sharing Yankee knowledge with Grandpa, he also shared his Yankee memorabilia with us too. As Allison and I got older, him and Grandma Pat would give us Christmas and Birthday gifts based around Yankees baseball. My parents have followed in this tradition to this day!

Once a Yankee... Always a Yankee!
Christmas 2011.
Grandpa was a true Yankee fan... my dad on the other hand was NOT a fan of the Yankees and still isn't. He has always been a St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals (the "home" team for Wichita, I guess) and Texas Rangers fan since we moved to Texas in 1994. He has always thought there was too much money in the Yankees club, which he has a point and I agree with but I will never waiver from my Yankees and that is because of Grandpa.

Dad has proclaim from the very beginning that he will raise THIS little girl a Cardinals fan! 
The jury is still out on that! 

My Grandfather was a true sport fanatic and passed this trait on to most of his 4 boys, but especially my dad. My Grandpa loved the Yankees but also loved the OU Sooners and ended up playing football for the OU Sooners when he attended OU from 1947-1950. He played on the 1947 Sooner Team until he hurt his shoulder in 1948. He graduated from OU in 1950 and that is one of the main reasons I went to OU... to follow in one of my hero's footsteps. Of course this is in addition to the SOONER BORN AND SOONER BRED philosophy which was also true since my dad was a die-hard Sooner fan as well!  That too is something I personally shared with my Grandpa.

Sisters Sharing Baseball
However, Yankees baseball was something that me, Grandpa and MY SISTER shared together every time we were together no matter the time of year. We would talk about the standings, post season or even off season training and the such. I swear Allison and I learned at least 50% of our overall baseball knowledge from Grandpa who would spout off statistics about Yankees while we were visiting. I remember a long 4 hour long drive home from Wichita to Ulysses one time that involved a lot of questions for my dad about what Grandpa talked about and told us that weekend. Allison and I are real baseball and Yankees fans but is about more than just the game... It is about sharing the game with your sister!

Impromptu Rangers game in 2006

Born and Raised... Yankees!

Ballpark in Arlington- Texas Rangers Ballpark Tour 2011

Sitting in the Texas Rangers Dugout- 2011

Opening Day 2014- Astro's vs Yankees and stop
#1 on Derek Jeter's Farewell Tour

Baseball... A Klingsick Tradition
In 1996 my family made our 1st trip to New York City to see Yankee Stadium for the first time and this made my love for the Yankees grow even more. As a 13 year old kid, I thought I was in heaven. My returning trips to Yankee stadium have only increased the love I have for not only this team but baseball in general as the Yankees truly are America's team. I hope to be able to one day take Chris and my kids to Yankee stadium to share this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with them as well.

Baseball... A Klingsick Family Tradition
Our very first Post Season Game- 2010.

Our very first Yankees Post Season game- 2010!

Despite being a Yankees fan... I wanted the Rangers to win the ALCS
that year so we could go to the World Series!

The tradition continues and now include Chris and 2 grand-kids!

The Tradition Continues to the Next Generation
My dad was such a huge baseball fan that he had a dream of visiting all of the Major League Baseball stadiums in the United States before he died. I was so fortunate to be able to travel alongside him and my mom while he tried to achieve this dream each summer. We traveled all over, near and far, watching baseball games. In fact, we would plan our annual summer vacation not around the Southern Baptist Convention schedule (my dad is a Baptist pastor in case you didn't know) or my mom's vacation time but rather on when our teams were in town. I clearly remember sitting down each November or December and viewing all of the recently posted yearly baseball schedules and choosing where we would go. By the time I was a teenager we had already created a list of the destinations, teams and stadiums we had to see and we knew where the following vacation would take us. This is one of the best memories of my entire life and I owe it all to my parents and my dad's love of the game. Now my mom and dad, otherwise known as Gigi Shirley and Poppy, travel around the US visiting baseball stadiums as GRANDPARENTS! They say it is even more fun!

Poppy and Natalie on Adventure #1 in St. Louis- 2011. 

St. Louis 2011- Adventure #1.
And so the adventures begin! 

Gigi Shirley and Poppy taking Natalie and Luke to their first Astro's game in 2013.

Dad has waited his whole life to have a little boy to share baseball with! 

Family Astro's game in June 2014

June 2014: Baseball- The Gigi Shirley and Poppy TRADITION!

Me Sharing Baseball with MY Family

Sharing Baseball with Chris 
When Chris and I started dating and really getting serious, he discovered my real passion for baseball. He was a 'FOOTBALL ALL THE TIME" type of guy and didn't like or follow baseball much. But like all marriages, there was some give and take and he has done a lot of giving in regards to this. I, too, have developed MORE of a love for college football (Boomer Sooner) but he has really come around from the "dark side" and grown to like baseball more and more. He even coached a High School JV team in 2012.

Chris took me 1/2 way across America to watch baseball!
2007- Washington Nationals game

Birthday Weekend at the Rangers 2008. 

Chris even took me to Minute Maid Park for the 1st time in 2010.
I was able to cross a stadium off my Bucket List with Chris! 

June 2014- I've trained him to like baseball but NOT the Yankees!
Unfortunately, he will remain an Astro's fan

Sharing Baseball with Natalie Grace
I have already shared this passion for baseball with my little girl Natalie Grace and she has traveled to downtown Houston with Allison and I to see a Yankees game. She loves baseball and traveling all of the United States with my parents, Gigi Shirley and Poppy, as they continued their baseball tradition with a new generation.

4.5 month old Natalie sporting her First Yankees Tee!

15 month old Natalie in the Texas Rangers dugout!

Mommy and Natalie at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day 2012!

Opening Day 2012

Opening Day 2012

Natalie- My little baseball DIVA! 

Yankees vs. Astro's closing weekend 2013
This one is for YOU Grandpa!

Sharing Baseball with Mr. Luke
However, I always dreamed of having a little boy and being able to pass on this love for the Yankees and passing on the many memories Grandpa, Allison and I shared. Unfortunately, Grandpa didn't make it to see this happen but I named my son David Luke Davis after not only his own father (David Christopher Davis) and Grandfather (Davis Daniel Davis) but also MY grandfather and Luke's Great-Grandfather (Gareld David Klingsick) of whom he will never be able to meet. Grandpa was and still remains one of my heroes and had such a huge impact on my life.

2012- 6 month old Luke got his 1st Yankees hat! 

David Luke Davis- June 2014
My little Yankee

June 2014-"Raise a child in the way they should go and
when they are old they will not depart from it" 

June 2014- One of my favorites! 

June 2014- This just melts my heart! 

June 2014- Auntie Allie is going to make sure he is a YANKEE! 

Our Legacy
I know my Grandpa is looking down from heaven and seeing his great-grandchildren have the same passion for sports, OU Football and baseball that his own boys and grandchildren did and is smiling. I love and miss you, Grandpa and now more than ever in the past 9 years, I just want to call and talk to you about the Yankees, baseball and life in general. I wish you could meet Mr. David Luke Davis who already, at only 2 years old, has your passion for baseball. I think you would be so proud! I love you Grandpa and I will see you soon! 

One of the very last pictures I have of my grandpa and I.
November 2004... Just short of a year before he died!
I love and miss you Grandpa! 

I've been a Yankee fan my entire life and I have never seen a better Yankee than Derek Jeter. There will never be another player quite like #2. Thanks for the memories Captain!

I love baseball.. And I owe that to my Dad and my Grandpa!
I love you guys! 

God is good.. All the time! 

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