Sports·Opinion

Joy Drop: Some home-run moments gave this week a real lift

CBC Sports Senior Contributor Shireen Ahmed's weekly roundup of the things that struck her from the week that was.

CBC Sports' senior contributor Shireen Ahmed on the week's happier moments

Derek Rodriguez, 9, a New York Yankees fan who lives in Toronto, met with his baseball hero, Aaron Judge, on Wednesday. (@Yankees/Twitter)

Hello, friends! The month of May is upon us. Our tires have been changed, our gardening gloves are coming out. OK, fine. Neither of those things has actually happened in my life. But they will be!

I celebrated a wonderful Eid holiday with my family and friends on Monday. I am thrilled to say that this week brought me a beautiful amount of joy through coffee in the morning, something I really missed while fasting. No, this online notebook is not sponsored by Nespresso but it ought to be. I enjoy my coffee strong, black and in abundance. 

Speaking of coffee, I have been listening to a delightful podcast about coffee called "Adventures in Coffee". It is sponsored by Caffeine Magazine and I am addicted. The hosts are a mix of coffee drinkers and experts: Scott, Jools and James. It is a London-based podcast but they tell tales and chat about coffee from all over the world. It is incredible storytelling and with the centre topic being my favourite thing in the world — other than cats. They invite experts from all walks of life and study to share perspectives. 

I have learned about the history of colonization in coffee distribution, equitable pay for coffee farmers, how to reduce my carbon footprint while drinking coffee, how to choose a roast and why local matters. Adventures in Coffee is an engaging podcast and one that I have enjoyed. They are on season three and I am excited to keep listening. 

While this newsletter is about joy, I would be remiss if I didn't include a most joy-inducing video from the land of baseball.

Derek Rodriguez is a nine-year-old New York Yankees fan. He was in the stands on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre in Toronto with his dad, Cesar, to watch the Yankees play the Blue Jays. His favourite player is Aaron Judge and he was delighted to watch him play. But when Michael Lanzilotta, a Jays fan seated in front of Rodriguez, grabbed the ball from a home run by Judge, he handed the ball off to the Derek. Rodriguez burst into tears with gratitude and hugged Lanzilotta. 

The story is really beautiful because although they are different generations supporting different teams, they were connected from a singular moment in the sport that was elevated due to generosity and gratitude. 

Not only was Lanzilotta's gesture incredibly kind, but Rodriguez's reaction was so wholesome. It reminds us of the simpler moments that we should embrace. Sometimes in the fast-paced world, we forget to stop and smell the flowers. But how many of us stop and smell the flowers and then offer a bouquet up to someone else? Competitive sports teach us to be fearless and to win. But very often they teach us to value others, and their struggles and share moments of happiness.

As a result of the moment going viral, Rodriguez was invited to the game the next day and to practice beforehand. He met his favourite player, and Judge gave him a pair of batting gloves. As soon as I saw this moment go viral on Tuesday night, I knew it was Joy Drop-worthy. I was right. 

I had lunch with a dear friend this week, Winston, and we went to a vegan restaurant called Fresh. I am a dedicated lover of meat but after I read about a few athletes who are vegan (Lewis Hamilton, Alex Morgan and Venus Williams) I wanted to try it. Winston is an expert on many things and he correctly advised me to try the quinoa-battered onion rings. I was astounded at how delicious everything was. The entire menu is 100 per cent vegan. Gone are the days of tasteless or repetitive plant-based menu items. It was fantastic and if you are looking for a great place for Mother's Day weekend, I would suggest it. 

Speaking of Mother's Day, I hope that you get a chance to cherish and shower love onto someone if you choose. If you are a person who parents, I hope this weekend is a time of happiness and a full heart. I have given my children a list of chores to complete and treats to gift me and I hope that they will be inspired. I will remind them that I had four unmedicated births and I deserve at least four presents. Being a mama is my favourite thing in the world and I am very grateful that I get to spend the day with my kids and my own mom

Of course, there are people, for whom it is not an easy time. Sending love out there to everyone who might be struggling with this day. 

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