These are the words we have inscribed on the brick outside Citifield to honor my mom, Victoria Geus. Is she really officially the #1 fan of the team? Okay, I won’t say that because I don’t really think anyone is. The Mets belong to all of us, the competition is for the team and their opponents, the fans are in it together.
But what I do know is that being a Mets fan is what has defined my mom. When people think of Victoria Geus there are many wonderful qualities that come to mind, but most likely the first one is: “She is the crazy Mets fan.” She has the statistics too.
Every Opening Day where was Mom? Shea.
Mother’s Day? Where else?
There was also the Ripken-like streak from 1984 through 1992 when she attended every home game. During that period I made sure to schedule my wedding for when the team was away, but my daughter didn’t understand yet and entered the world on May 8, 1988. This was before cell phones, and I didn’t even try to contact my mom, I knew where she was. Eventually that night, she made it to the hospital, and her first words to me were:
“We won, Darling pitched great!”
And that was how she always described that day. I heard her say it to folks many times, “I remember the day my granddaughter was born, Ron Darling pitched great that day.”
In the early years of the team when I was a kid, there was the whole sticking her head out the window thing. That was interesting. This was reserved for the ninth inning of many games where we were stuck watching on TV. It is true, as Jimmy pointed out recently, holding a lead can be much more suspenseful than attempting a comeback. You are soooo close to victory, you just want it to end. As a fan it can be hard to handle. Eventually my mom came up with a system where she would leave our living room and go into her bedroom and stick her head out the window until the game was over (she didn’t want to hear anything, including our reactions). If they won, my brother or I would happily run in to get her and give her the good news, but if the Mets did blow the game – and in the early years it was common – Dad had to handle that.
Mom has always tried to help the team too, not just by her rooting, but also by trying any hex that came to mind. Wearing the same blouse the day after a win, check, not saying anything positive during a game (so as not to be the cause of a dreaded jinx!), check, sitting in the same chairs during games (“WHERE do you think you are going – we are winning – sit down!”) so as not to upset any voodoo, check. All mostly for naught as no amount of voodoo could help the pre-1969 Mets.
Things changed in 1969 and 1973 when the Mets actually made the postseason. It was, of course, special for her but in those days we didn’t have the financial ability to go to postseason games. We lived in the Upper Deck and many times got into the games for free using “Borden’s Coupons” (if you drank 10 quarts of milk you got a free Mets ticket). By 1986 that had changed and Mom had her own full season tickets right behind third base (with a perfect view into the Mets Dugout) in a Loge Box, so my last story today has to be from the year that she always has maintained was her absolute favorite.
All season long, Mom told me the same thing – “I just want to go to a World Series.” After the Game Two loss to the Red Sox my wife and I met up with her, as we often did after games, in front of Gate C. Mom immediately started ranting about the losses and finally getting to a World Series and seeing nothing but losses. I held up my hand and reminded her:
“You said you would just be happy getting to the Series.”
And just like that, I got back a look like I was the biggest idiot in the world and the following honest answer.
Well, it wasn’t easy and in Game Six I bet anything my mom was looking for a window somewhere in Shea, but when that series was all over we had what she really wanted to see up close and live with her own eyes:
A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!
Fitting, because she has always been a World Champion Fan.
Happy Birthday Mom.
Let’s Go Mets!