New York Yankees Mom Shares Story
By Madyson Eisen
From Curaçao To New York: Didi Gregorius
Everybody says children always take after their parents. Well, now I can clearly see where one of my favorite athletes gets his enjoyable personality from. I recently had the pleasure of talking to the mother of Yankees' star shortstop, Didi Gregorius. During my time chatting with her online, Sheritsa Stroop has taught me a few important and positive things.
In case you weren't aware, Gregorius was traded to the Yankees in 2014, after playing a year for the Cincinatti Reds and two years for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I asked Ms. Stroop to describe in a few words how she felt when Didi was traded to the Yankees. "I felt scared, but happy for him," she recalled.
Didi was recently named "American League Player of the Month" in April. He led the Majors in home runs (10) and RBI's (30) in 25 games. It was his first award of that type, so I asked his mother for her reaction. She said what I had expected— she was very happy and proud of his accomplishments.
Having a son that is a professional athlete is something to which many people cannot relate. Ms. Stroop explained to me how having a son on the Yankees has impacted their lives. "It's huge!" she said. "But I try to see it this way: it's a job with its highs and lows and you get evaluated as you perform. Only in his case, it is there for the world to see. If you had asked me the same question in 2015 I would have run away, but we are used to it now." This allowed me to see the amount of pressure professional athletes and their families have on them, since everyone watches.
Ms. Stroop herself was a softball player. I asked her if this had any influence on how Didi developed an interest in baseball. I learned from her that Didi played basketball, soccer, and swam, obviously all while playing baseball. His father played baseball, as well as his brother, who still does. Ms. Stroop confirmed that since she also played softball, Didi was always on the field. That was a big influence on him, so he decided to make baseball his main sport.
Didi is the team "tweeter." After every win, he tweets a game recap using a different emoji for each of his teammates. What makes him special is that he never includes himself in any of his tweets. If he hits a home run, singles twice, and brings in the game winning run, he'll just talk about the rest of the team. Being that parents know their kids the most, I asked Ms. Stroop to describe some of the personal qualities that Didi has displayed since childhood that impact his performance as a Yankee. She replied with three traits: "He has always been humble, disciplined himself, and he always wants to better himself."
The last thing I asked Ms. Stroop was, "What advice would you give mothers of incoming athletes?" Her answer was very meaningful: "Encourage and support your child but also let them know the importance of having an education."
A lot of people may be wondering why I decided to interview a player's mother, rather than the player himself. This is because being an athlete is not just about talent; it's about having the right mindset and support. It takes a long time to get to this point, and Didi Gregorius's mother has raised him to be the person and athlete he is today.