At that indeterminate point between “late” and “early,” the door to my dorm room was flung open.
My friend Joey walked in and sat on the end of my bed and put head in hands. He was thrilled. The night had gone well with a girl he’d had an interest in for a while. Sitting in the dimming glow of liquid happiness and the harsh glare of hallway lights, he wanted to know how he could get it done. This wasn’t the first time my door had opened late with Joey seeking a conversation.
He had been trying to bridge the gap between Friend-dom and Relationship-landia for a while. He’d been putting in the time–helping with homework, texting consistently, making time to see her.
I remember putting on a shirt and getting out of bed and know that, at some point, Joey somehow ended up on the floor of the hallway. Other than that, not much else. But that night I gave the most inspirational speech I could muster. I drew on what I knew.
I told him he was a big game starting pitcher who’d just pitched eight innings with a slim lead. Joey had been taking care of business and setting himself up to succeed all game long. He’d navigated tough spots, but he’d answered the bell when called upon.
Now, the only thing left to do was close the deal.
I repeated myself quite a bit in my attempt at Knute Rockne, but eventually arrived at the best advice I could give my friend.
Twenty minutes later, Joey’s roommate texted me, “Just walked into the room and Joey’s watching Mariano Rivera highlights?”
I had jokingly told Joey that if he wanted to close the deal, then he should watch the career highlights of the man who’s saved the most games in Major League Baseball’s history.
Unfortunately, things didn’t end up working out between Joey and the girl. Hey, for the 652 games Rivera did save in the Bigs, he also blew 73 of them. After all, the game at which Rockne gave his legendary speech, Notre Dame went on to lose 45-10. Maybe that was my fault. Maybe I should’ve showed him this instead.
Either way, like Rivera and like the rest of us, Joey will get another chance to go out the mound and pitch.