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Yankee fan’s passion, courage earns him top prize in Field of Dreams contest

Nasaiah Torres, 12, is one of nine youngsters to win the Daily News Field of Dreams contest.

For 12-year-old Nasaiah Torres, the New York Yankees mean so much more than their distinctive pinstriped uniforms and long history of larger-than-life players.

“To me, the Yankee tradition is a feeling — it’s something you feel deep in your heart,” Nasaiah told the Daily News.

“I guess I was shy before I was at the Yankees games. I don’t share my feelings very well. My grandma surprised me and brought me to a Yankees game, and I felt that fear just go away.”

On July 26, the middle-schooler from Peekskill, Westchester County, will fulfill a lifelong dream when he walks out onto the Yankee Stadium field alongside the Bronx Bombers to sing the national anthem before they play the Cincinnati Reds.

Torres is one of nine youngsters who won the top prize in the Daily News’ Field of Dreams contest, which asked fans, ages 8 to 14, to submit an essay highlighting what Yankees tradition means to them.

“I still remember sitting in those seats and my feet dangling, not long enough to touch the floor. Back then, my mom worked two jobs and I had to spend a lot of time with my grandma,” Torres wrote in his essay.

The eighth-grader said going to Yankee games help him experience a special bond with his grandmother.

“It’s more than a game of baseball, it’s the love between us and our love for the Yankees that we got to share together and keep our Yankee tradition going. I always look forward to those days.”

Read the winning essay below:

When I first started to write this essay I didn’t know where I should begin as there are hundreds of ways to tell you what “Yankee Tradition” means to me. I started writing and stopped writing and started again so many times because to me the Yankee tradition is a feeling. It’s something you feel deep in your heart, well at least for me it is.

I haven’t always been the best at telling anyone how I feel so I think it’s best for me to start from my very first Yankee tradition and tell you my story. I’m an only child and it’s just me and my mom. My mom is a Yankee fan and when I was much younger she used to work at a family restaurant and bar. My great uncle who owns the bar may have just been the biggest Yankee fan of all times, and you knew it by how the bar area was decorated. Some days I had to go to work with my mom; it always seems the Yankees were playing. I was little then and didn’t know much about sports but what my mom couldn’t explain my great uncle made sure he did every which way.

The part of my story isn’t about the bar or my drinking Shirley Temples, it’s about learning who the Yankees were and what I thought it would be like to be sitting in a huge stadium watching the greatest team ever play ball. No, I didn’t do this by sitting in a stool and do my best to reach the counter for my drink as I watched the game, I did it by sitting in actual seats that were from the original stadium that my uncle has collected. I still remember sitting in those seats and my feet dangling not long enough to touch the floor. Back then my mom worked two jobs and I had to spend a lot of time with my grandma. We did a lot together but almost every afternoon ended with us watching the Yankee game as I sat on the floor close to the TV and grandma sat on her recliner yelling and clapping for our home team. My grandma used to tell me she was their biggest fan, her and my great uncle seemed to both be but she might have come a lot closer as most days my Pop Pop had to wait for the 7th inning stretch for his dinner.

This part of my story isn’t so much about my grandma being a fan as it is about the memories I made with her and how my love for the Yankees has much more purpose and I hold those memories very deep in my heart. I remember one hot summer day my mom was rushing to get my ready as she had to drop me off at my grandma’s and go to work, but there was something very different that morning as my mom is always late anyway but she was really rushing and at the time I couldn’t figure out why she changed me in and out of my Yankee shirts until she decided on one and we flew quickly out of the house.

When we got to my grandma’s house her car was running in the driveway and she came quickly out of the house and in her exact words to me as I could never forget were “Today is the big day Nas!” I honestly didn’t know what she was talking about and must of asked 100 times on what seemed like an endless ride to that “big day.” But then I saw it, it was right there, right in front of me! Yankee Stadium! I had seen it hundreds of times on television but there it was right in front of me! I must of hugged my grandma thirty times before we even left the parking lot. We started walking towards the stadium, I couldn’t walk fast enough. I remember walking through the gate and seeing so many people, millions of people to me at the times it seemed. This was it, all the games I watched on TV, all the baseball talk, all the Yankee sports gear but nothing, I mean nothing, prepared me for the moment I stepped beyond the hustle of food stands and souvenir stands and saw the Yankee baseball field right in front of me. I felt it, I smelled it and was living it. I was there. The game was great, you can’t compare reality with television once you step into Yankee Stadium.

Now that part of the story is where our tradition began. I wasn’t a bad or whiny kid when I was young but I had a feeling it was a trial run to see how I would do at a game because from that moment on it seemed we were always once again on our way to Yankee Stadium. I’ve gone to so many games with my family but nothing ever compares to getting to go with my grandma. It’s more then a game of baseball, it’s the love between us and our love for the Yankees that we got to share together and keep our Yankee tradition going. I always look forward to those days.

Unfortunately this year has been a bit rough for me as back in January I came sick. With being sick came lots of doctors appointments and me not having much energy to get to a game at the stadium but it didn’t stop grandma and I from enjoying it together at home. I’m slowly getting back to me and grandma and my mom decided it’s time to get our tickets and continue our tradition! I cannot wait because no matter how many times I go to a Yankee game my heart still races with excitement when I see the field just like it did my very first time.

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