The news of Roy Halladay’s death hit me, and so many other Philadelphia Phillies fans who grew up admiring him hard. Here’s what Halladay meant to me.
He wasn’t in Philadelphia for an incredibly long time, but Halladay made it feel like decades watching him spin gems on the mound in red pinstripes. When he was traded to the Phillies just before Christmas in 2009 the city rejoiced, and an eleven-year-old, sixth grader from South Jersey immediately fell in love with the city’s newest star. A Halladay jersey was under my Christmas tree just ten days later, and I’m pretty sure I wore that jersey for a week straight until my parents had to practically rip it off of my body.
I’ve never been the most athletic person, but I’ve still played sports ever since I could walk especially baseball. I wanted to be the player that the team could rely on to get on base, score a run, and play great defense. Never flashy but always consistent, I wanted to have the same demeanor as Doc, go out and get the job done.
In my life, I have been blessed with so many things, a supporting family, a passion for writing, health, and a great education, but going into high school I felt like something was missing. A lot was changing at that time, my family was all over the place as my mom worked in Virginia, and my sister moved to North Carolina, and I couldn’t adapt to a new high school without fear of constant panic attacks. I felt like I would never live up to the expectations that were given to me, I was failing everyone around me because I couldn’t get a grip on my own life.
I became angry, unable to talk to anyone about what was going on, and would often seclude myself from family and friends. One thing always kept me happy though, and that was whenever Halladay was on the mound. I know it sounds crazy, but watching Doc perform surgery on the other team’s lineup felt like he was talking right to me with every pitch. The calm demeanor he had every day helped me cope with whatever small problems I had going on in my own life.
It was a rough year, but all storms pass, and I’m now in a much better place. However corny it may sound, Halladay really helped me in 2013. His retirement announcement left tears in my eyes, as I knew one of the games truly best people would no longer be playing the beautiful game.
When news of his untimely death broke, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. Friends of mine who go to college with me in north jersey didn’t understand why I was so upset, as my school is known to be Yankees territory. But with that confusion came the ability to tell them about all the great memories I have of one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game.
I still wear that Roy Halladay jersey I got when I was in sixth grade, don’t ask me how it still fits. And while it is faded from years of use, I know the man who wore number 34 did a lot more than throw a baseball, he helped me grow up and get rid of some demons along the way. Hopefully one day I will be able to thank him for that.