For a professional athlete, New York City can be described as a tale of two cities.
When an athlete is doing well, the city will embrace them with open arms making them the talk of the town which leads to instant celebrity status. The rise to becoming a superstar athlete in one of the biggest cities in the world can be astonishingly quick, but it could all come crashing down in a New York minute if they struggle, leading to swarms of boo birds and naysayers. Nobody knows that better than legendary New York Yankees Captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, who wraps up his illustrious twenty year career that made him an immortal figure in New York this Sunday, and New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning who has been the team’s franchise player for the last decade.
Now Jeter has been essentially flawless in his career but has still felt the boo birds and the naysayers who thought his career was over years ago. Those same voices have followed Eli Manning over the last ten years despite seemingly silencing them after winning two Super Bowls, they have returned this year after another slow start after last year’s 0-6 start to now question whether Manning’s best days are now behind him as well.
Jeter offered some comforting advice to Manning in an NFL.com article written by Kimberly Jones titled Derek Jeter offers wisdom to fellow New York icon Eli Manning:
"When Jeter was asked what he would say to Manning, Jeter stated “Don’t read the papers, don’t listen to it. That’s the bottom line, stay positive. That’s the only way you can deal with it. It’s tough. It’s tough to avoid it, because you’re constantly asked questions about it. So you know the angle, you know whats being written. But you’ve got to stay positive, regardless.” Jeter also added: “And have fun, make the most of it. Careers don’t last forever. So enjoy it as much as you can.”"
If there is anyone that can give Manning advice on how to deal with daily rumblings about his career and how his best days have come and gone in a city where those rumblings, like the city itself, never sleep, it’s Derek Jeter. For years Jeter has dealt with critics talking endlessly about how he is at he end of his career.
Every single year, Jeter has put those critics to rest in the utmost professionalism possible and that is by never losing his focus or his confidence and letting his play be his resounding rebuttal. Manning has been appreciative of Jeter’s words of encouragement by stating “He’ll always be a role model for me.”
Yanks Go Yard
So what do these two superstars have in common besides being icons in the most iconic cities in the world? They’ve both been under the proverbial microscope since their debuts. They’ve both risen to the top of the city by leading their respective teams to multiple championships by coming through in the biggest spots repeatedly when it mattered the most on the biggest stage where many have crumbled under the immense pressure.
They’ve also both had slumps and heard the instant criticism from all over the city that questioned everything about them from being called overrated to being told that their careers are entering their twilight. But the biggest thing these two men have in common is a trait that is rarely found in any athlete and is what makes them champions and leaders of their respective teams.
That trait is to shut out all the doubt and criticism no matter how hurtful or demeaning it may be, and to handle it the only way legends handle criticism by stepping on the field, into the spotlight knowing all eyes are on them, and letting their talent silence them all year after year. It’s for those reasons that Derek Jeter and Eli Manning are the biggest sports icons in New York City. It’s a blessing yet such a burden that only an elite class of athletes can handle and Derek Jeter and Eli Manning are at the very head of that class.