The Ryan Report – Episode 215 "Suicide Squeeze"
Ryan's Bio | Read the episode recap
One of the reason I love living in New York is that it's the great equalizer. Since we're all crammed into this tiny space together, we have to eat together, walk together, and relax together. No matter how famous or infamous the person is, you might find them walking through Central Park or grabbing a hot dog near Union Square. Head to a deli at 3 AM to indulge your craving for a black and white cookie and you could find yourself chatting with a movie star or a homeless man. Everybody's equal here.
Point is, you never know who you'll see out and about. Even me, Mr. NYPD Homicide Detective, can't help but get a little awed by the sports stars of this city. When you're buying a sandwich next to the star of the Yankees or competing for a cab with the goalie for the Rangers… well, that's pretty darn cool. But even when I can strike up a convo, I keep my distance...
See, when I was a kid, I was a wee bit obsessive about sports. I mean, I could tell you anything and everything about baseball, football, basketball, hockey… I even tried to get into professional golf, but a thirteen-year-old boy has his limits. I collected all the cards, watched all the games, memorized all the stats. I'm telling you, I could have gone head to head with any of those Best Damn Sports Show guys.
Back then, parent permitting, I'd head to all the games and stay afterward to get as many athletes to sign my team pennants as possible. And then, at a certain point, I just sort of stopped going. I stopped being so into sports.
It wasn't any one reason – nobody was mean or terrible to me. I think it was just a cumulative effect of meeting all these people whom I thought larger than life… and discovering that they were real people. Some of that mystery just disappeared for me.
When you're a kid, these sports stars are heroes who can do no wrong. Giants striding through life. As I grew up, as I saw more of these guys, I realized they were just incredibly talented people working a job. And though it was an amazing job, it just didn't seem quite as magical or transfixing as it once did. Knowing the stats and getting their autographs wasn't going to deliver me to the kingdom of wonder.
Plus, it was around then that I discovered girls. That might have had something to do with it too.
Of course, even though I'm not an obsessive teenager anymore, I'm still a sports fan. Espo and I have our fantasy football and baseball leagues (in which I kick his butt on a regular basis) and I try to catch as many games as I can. I even took Jenny out to a Rangers game a little while back – a hat trick and four fights, it doesn't get any better than that!
And when I see those stars out and about, I still get that feeling of excitement I used to get. But as much as I want to talk to them about last week's game or their team's chances against the Canucks, I let them buy their black & white cookie in peace. Because at the end of the day, they're New Yorkers like me, just trying to get through their day.
Instead, I follow the time-honored tradition of paying homage to sport stars – I buy over-priced tickets so that Espo, Jenny and I can yell "encouragement" at them from the stands. See, this way, thirteen-year-old Kevin still gets to come out every once in a while...