Ode to Jeter: True Grasshopper

                                                           Derek Jeter

     As the leaves begin to change color, the air begins to take on the cool chill, and pumpkin spice lattes can be spotted on every block, one thing is for sure; fall is here. With the coming of fall, America’s pastime is getting to its hottest part of the year, playoffs. Some made the cut, others missed it by an inch, but even more totally avoided the playoffs. On one of these teams the career of one of the best is coming to a close. The team? The New York Yankees. The player? Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter has boasted a career packed with stats and unforgettable moments. From his famous flip to the 3000th hit that went yard, Jeter has had no shortage of spectacular moments. However, his most spectacular feat is one that nearly nobody would realize just by looking at the surface of Jeter’s life.

 

An accomplishment of Jeter that nearly nobody else shares is his ability to lead a life that is meaningful even by the Grasshopper’s standards. The Grasshopper is an interesting character of Bernard Suits’ The Grasshopper: Game, Life, and Utopia. In the tale, the grasshopper is on his deathbed refusing help from the ant because he argues that living on any further would violate his basic concepts of why life should be lived. The grasshopper argued that play is the only truly meaningful part of life. He has lived his whole life playing the game of baseball. In a time when violating laws of the game is a common occurrence, he maintained a clean record. He has totally dedicated his life to playing a game. Clearly, the grasshopper would agree that Derek Jeter has lived a properly meaningful life.

Tonight at 7:05, Derek Jeter will play his final game at Yankee Stadium. As his life of play comes to and end, I can’t help but wonder what comes next. Will he dwindle away like the grasshopper? Or will he come back to remain part of the game as a coach or general manager? Perhaps the only one who could predict this is the Grasshopper himself.

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One comment

  1. sgoldberg18 · September 26, 2014

    As a huge Yankees and Jeter fan, I was very interested in this post. I would definitely agree with you when you say that Jeter has dedicated his life to playing baseball, but I feel that he might not have fulfilled the Grasshopper’s definition of a meaningful life. As the Grasshopper described Utopia, people play games for the sake of playing them, for overcoming the obstacle and enjoying it. Jeter, while definitely someone who has played for the love of the game, has also played for several other reasons. He has received huge benefits from the MLB, and has business ventures beyond baseball. In Utopia, Jeter would go out every game, have fun, and that would be that. There would be no gain for him. Obviously, in our world this isn’t possible. The Grasshopper believes in no work and just leisure: obviously baseball has not been just leisure for Jeter. If it was, he wouldn’t have to retire. He’s played through injuries and pain to help his team, but also to support himself, something the Grasshopper would refuse to do. Jeter is an amazing player who has stayed very righteous in a time when most players were engaged in some form of scandal, however, he plays baseball for more than just enjoying beating the obstacle of making his hitting average better or becoming a better shortstop. He plays baseball because it is his job, making it impossible for his involvement in the sport to fulfill the Grasshopper’s definition of a meaningful life.

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