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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Legend, wait for it...

SPORTS BBA-ORIOLES-YANKEES 2 HK

It’s not often we say goodbye to a legend.

In fact, for this generation of IU students, it is reasonable to say this is the first time we have witnessed a legendary sporting career in New York Yankees’s short-stop Derek Jeter.

As Rookie of the Year, Jeter earned his first distinction in 1996, the time that most of us were beginning to walk, talk and make sense of the world.

Our understanding of baseball, then, was molded by Jeter.

We grew up watching him, from his first World Series Championship in 1996 to his fifth and final in 2009 and every Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award in between.

He notched his 3,000th career hit in 2011. But it wasn’t just a hit, it was a home run.

He took his last at bat in Yankee Stadium on Sept. 25, 2014.

And it wasn’t just an at bat, but a trip to the plate that ended in walk-off ?fashion.

In a deluge of athletes that have transcended their respective sports for the wrong reasons, Jeter is a sportsman that transcended the game for all that is good.

In the prime of his career, Jeter emerged unscathed from an era in MLB that saw the majority of its stars stripped of their titles because of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

One such star included Jeter’s own teammate, Alex Rodriguez.

In today’s mediated society, it’s become increasingly rare that a player’s reputation remain not only clean throughout his career but respectable too.

Enter Derek Jeter, whose final season campaign has been galvanized by respect.

The slogan, “RE2PECT,” commemorates Jeter’s number two.

The Yankees captain has earned the respect of all those he has ?encountered in his 20-year career, from his home crowd of New Yorkers, traditionally rude and unforgiving, to his rival crowd of ?Bostonians.

It is likely Jeter will be the only person ever to bridge the gap between Yankees and Red Sox fans as he did in his final game, which was played at Fenway Park on Sunday.

He is the most beloved baseball player on what was, and perhaps still is, the most hated team in baseball.

Beyond his merit of respect, Jeter has achieved another accolade that is even more exceptional in this generation: he played for the same team, unwavering, for 20 straight years.

There was no decline, no contract dispute, no departure and return. Derek Jeter played as a rookie in New York City, and he retired there.

The fact is, the more Jeter’s career is reflected upon, the more unbelievable it seems.

I would even say it’s ?unparalleled.

At IU, we have our legend — the 1976 championship team.

Over the years, it has become more apparent just how extraordinary this team was, as it has remained the last undefeated NCAA Division I men’s basketball team for 38 years.

As for legendary eras, the closest the Hoosiers have come to a championship since Coach Bobby Knight’s dismissal was the 2002 NCAA Championship game.

The point is: we don’t know how long we will have to wait for the next legend to be.

So let’s celebrate the legend that is.

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