Thursday, June 23, 2016

I gazed up at the rafters in Madison Square Garden as Robert Smith sang “Friday I’m in Love.” The retired Ranger numbers, jersey style, red and blue on white, floated incongruously over the far end of the arena. The names did too. Names from other times and places. Graves. Gilbert. Messier. I thought about what it meant to retire a number. A great honor, blah blah blah. What it really means is this: If we retire one, we’re going to have to retire them all. Given enough time, and enough acts of athletic heroism, all the other numbers will eventually ascend into that celestial realm. And then what?