A good buddy of mine moved to Connecticut a couple of years ago and he joined a gym. He joined what he thought was a really really good gym – and it really turned out to be one. He said it was the cleanest, it was the biggest, it had the most machines – it was pretty easy, it really wasn’t a tough choice. The city that he moved into – West Hartford, Connecticut and its surrounding communities is not really a gym culture. This is not LA or Vegas, it’s not Dallas – where there are gyms at every corner or Miami. There aren’t a lot of them and not a lot of good ones too.
So he joined this work out place called “Big Sky” and it was very clean and very well done and so my buddy started talking to the owner about a year later after his move. He’d never lived in Connecticut, he didn’t understand that half the state is very New Englandish/Boston and the other half, South Connenticut, is very New Yorkerish. So Connecticut is like a postage stamp (geographical boundaries) and if you draw – horizontally, right through the middle, the top half is New England/Boston people and the bottom half is New Yorkers. He tended to relate more to New Yorkers than Bostonians – I’ll explain more about that later.
So he told an interesting story –the owner that is. He said he opened a gym, initially, in the southern part of the state – New Yorkers. He said it was an instant hit! There were other gyms in the area, but he knew his was the best and New Yorkers responded. He theorized that New Yorkers, are a bottom line group. They just don’t care if they know you – if you open up a restaurant and it’s great, New Yorkers pile into the restaurant and they have favourites like everybody else. But New Yorkers build to win and they build to accept those who help them make their life better…they are busy people!
A year after opening his gym in the southern New Yorker area of Connecticut he then opened one in the New England part of the state – that’s where my buddy lives. It’s easily the best gym in the area, but it’s not really close to New Yorkers. The owner talked about how he struggled to keep the day to day operations intact. So my buddy goes to the owner and says to him “I live here!”. Now, when my buddy moved there, it took him like 5 minutes to pick this gym out as the best in the area. The owner then said to my buddy “ahh but you’re not from New England right? New England people are different from New Yorkers” They have sayings like “fences make good neighbours”, they’re reluctant to talk. You can give them the best, but they’re cranky and will wait and wait until they trust you. That’s how New Yorkers and New Englanders are different. A New Yorker is a bottom liner. New England – even if you offer the best, are so stubborn, so paranoid that they’ll wait 2 years until they stick their foot into the pool. This is coming from a guy who’s owned a business in both regions. He told my buddy that it was a fascinating sociological experiment to watch.
I rant about this today because I find the Derek Jeter erosion story fascinating and already people in New York City, who say he’s the captain and call him the beloved Jeter, are bailing on Derek. You know why? Cause he’s not what he use to be. They loved him, they bought his jersey and they root like crazy for him and in their heart he may be their favourite Yankee, but the numbers don’t lie. Jeter’s a baseball player in his mid to late 30’s who didn’t take steroids and is just not that great. His average in 2009 was .330, now it’s around .250. His power numbers have dropped off the table until last week, he wasn’t even hitting the ball sharply. It’s interesting to watch this – and it’s always been the “elephant in the room” story. When this season started – remember, Yankee fans wanted to give Jeter – I was personally fascinated with what happened during the Jeter negotiations. He was the most beloved New York Yankee athlete – and it was 50/50 on every poll…give him 5 years or screw him, he’s past his prime, give him 2 or 3 years. That’s what I love about New Yorkers! And why I’ve always better related with New Yorkers more than with Boston guy. A New Yorker can love his favourite player, love his brother in law, a New Yorker can love something…but it’s still bottom line, you gotta deliver for a New Yorker!!
It’s not about history; it’s not about the old house in the neighbourhood, because New Yorkers will blow it up in a second!! Yankee Stadium…blow it up! Build a new one. And I personally love that mentality. They have great tradition in the city, pre World War II buildings and post World War II buildings – that’s how they advertise them. But what I really appreciate is that they never let sentimentality get in the way of intelligence. You either deliver or you don’t! and if you don’t, heck we love you brother…here’s your cheque, we’re moving you outta the line up and we’re moving you down the order…and I totally love that! I complete relate to it cause you can either live your life through the rear view mirror or you can live your life through the windshield, and New Yorkers are the latter!