Derek Jeter has announced this will be his final season. As with Mariano Rivera, a virtually season-long injury prepared me to say goodbye.
Three months and nine days older than I, Derek made it to the big leagues during the first semester of Font, a student lit magazine I helped establish at Hofstra University. As luck would have it, many on staff were Yankee fans, and we've followed his career over the course of our friendship.
In both cases, I can't believe it's been twenty years, but the number of weddings, children, and gray hairs attest. Jeter is too much my contemporary to be my favorite player—that was Don Mattingly—but every compliment paid to Jeter is earned. One cannot handle being an athlete in the largest market better than he. Just as he does on the field, he gauges the gravity of any public situation, prepares himself, and performs. He has seemingly never been caught off-guard. We can all learn from that. It's what I'll remember most about him.