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From Florida to New York: On becoming a local Mets fan

My first Mets game as a New Yorker finally convinced me that I actually belong here.

No one ever told me how different it is to watch the Mets as a New Yorker.
No one ever told me how different it is to watch the Mets as a New Yorker.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I went to my first Mets game as a (close enough) New Yorker two months ago, just five days after moving here, and it's taken me this long to write about it because I didn't have the words.

You guys didn't tell me how wonderful it is to feel like you belong at Citi Field. I kind of hate you for that.

I've been to my fair share of baseball games: Tampa Bay Rays games and random minor league games around Florida. I even made my way up to Flushing for a Mets game last summer. But this was something entirely different.

The game wasn't great: Matt Harvey was pulled too early and the offense was nowhere to be found. But in a week, or a month, or a year, I won't remember the score. I'll remember the colors and the sounds and the smells. I'll remember sitting next to the home run apple for an hour with "Meet the Mets" on repeat while I waited for my friend to show up. I'll remember the cheers for Wilmer Flores and the guy who struck up a conversation with me outside the BBQ place about Terry Collins and the trade deadline additions. I'll remember the little girl next to me who hid in her dad's arms every time a foul ball came within ten sections of us. I'll remember the little things, because those are far more important than the box score.

Six weeks later, the morning after the Mets won the NLDS, a guy crossed the street to give me a high-five because he saw my neon orange "Hair We Go" Jacob deGrom shirt. The couple on the bus spent 15 minutes showing me photos of the Mets shrine in their living room. The woman behind the counter at my bagel place wrote "Go Mets" on my to-go bag.

My dad worries that my friendliness is going to get me murdered. He's probably right. But it won't be by a Mets fan.

I still smile at everyone in a Mets shirt on the street, because that was such a rarity in Florida that we automatically became best friends. I get weird looks, but I'm okay with it. Because for me, being a Mets fan is more than just following a team: it's about the camaraderie of a group of people who have been tormented for so long and are finally getting a chance to celebrate. It's about friendships forged over mutual hope and heartbreak. And, finally, it's something I get to experience where it's meant to be experienced.