Friday, May 22, 2009


The ushering gig continues. In fact it looks to be a permanent move. Thank you God. With the aforementioned deity as my witness, I dropped three pounds last night and I only worked 7 innings (slim crowds mean some ushers go home early.)
In the third inning last night, some folks began crowding the guests in wheelchairs that were sitting in the handicapped portion of my section. I asked them to back up and not hover over the folks in the wheelchairs. One of the folks in a wheelchair thanked me. He said "It's good to have somebody up here watching out for us. OBVIOUSLY nobody's going to try and get through you!" I must admit, I stuck my chest out a bit and my head swelled just a little. Nice trip back to the old days when folks thought of me as the big, strong guy and I got the call whenever it was time to move something heavy or someone was causing trouble. Honesty compels me to admit that (if I can quote James Joyce) "...he spoke roughly in order to belie his air of gentility..." I was always more bartender than bouncer...but nobody needed to know that and I used my size as an advantage many times back in my young, heathen days. For too long, though, I went from being that guy to being the unhealthy, sick guy. I felt like a million bucks being the big, strong guy for someone again.
Ran across a picture of me when I was in my early 20's. Showed it to my sister. Melinda says "'re that small again..." I started to laugh it off but then realized she's probably right. I can probably wear the shorts I was wearing in that picture...well, if they weren't horribly short and would make me look like I was on a Village People reunion tour. It also wouldn't hurt my feelings to have as much hair as I had in that picture (on my head, I mean..not in my ears or eyebrows, the two places where I now easily grown hair.) It was much more of a compliment to me than, say, the picture she sent me of a guy sporting a mullet leaning up against a truck. She reminded me that I used to sport a mean mullet myself. Uh, yeah, but it looked REALLY good on me..right? Somebody? Anybody?
Now where else can you go and enjoy a discussion on James Joyce AND mullets? They call that being well-rounded (or full of useless information...or full of something....I'm odd I tell ya')

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

51 Steps (and other stuff)

So I was DESPERATE for the fine folks at Gwinnett Stadium to give me the opportunity to usher. Guest Relations is fine, but I wanted to usher. Last Friday fate stepped in and cut me a break. One of the ushers on the third base line had to step aside for medical reasons and I quickly volunteered. I had a blast of a weekend. Good baseball (Durham - Gwinnett split a 4 game series.) I met some cool people (one of our local musicians included) and made it on television once. Best of all, it served as another huge indicator as to how drastically different my life has become. In the middle of every inning, ushers have to walk down the steps from concourse level to field level to guard the gate to the field (truth be told, if someone stepped down there with a weapon I'd allow them to steal home...literally.) I counted them - there are 51 steps one way. That's 102 total each inning (yes, I used a calculator to confirm that.) Not only do I do it once an inning I do it anytime there's a stoppage in play (pitching change, argument etc..etc...) I woke up Saturday morning and realized that if I stepped out of bed and couldn't move I wasn't going to be able to usher. No worries. I jumped out of bed and there was no soreness, no resemblance between my knees and a bowl of Rice Krispies. I felt fine. So fine, in fact, that I headed over to my in-laws house to cut their grass all day. Ran home, showered, changed (put on my important looking green polo shirt) and went back to the stadium and did it again. I couldn't have done 102 steps in a week a year ago without having some type of seizure. Now I'm running around like a kid. Here's the kicker - I lost 4 more pounds just over the weekend (that's a total of 244 pounds gone.) I'm going on television with the 'WEAR A GREEN POLO SHIRT AND RUN STADIUM STAIRS WORKOUT!' infomercial. Finally, I've found my destiny. Perhaps I'll couple my workout dvd with a free pack of SHAMWOWS for a once-in-a-lifetime offer.
Mother's Day came and went without any significant breakdowns. I usually try to call my sisters (who are all moms) and wish them happy Mother's Day. I didn't this year. I went to the ballpark while my bride went to church with her mom. Basically I tried to ignore the day. Once there it dawned on me that a baseball game is the one place where it's IMPOSSIBLE to not think about Winifred Freeman. We took her to a hundred ballgames on a hundred Mother's Days. I remember my friends always thinking that was weird but there was no better gift for her than to put her in the old Fulton County Stadium to watch her Braves (no matter how bad they were at the time.)
In storybook fashion, a guest (the Braves ask that we NOT call them "customers" or "fans" but "GUESTS") brought his 78 year old Mother with severe mobility limitations to the game. They sat in the handicapped portion of the section I was working. I introduced myself, got them some scorecards and put a folding chair he could sit in next to her wheelchair. He said "Thanks much for all your help, Tim. She's 78 and loves baseball..can you imagine that?" I'm thinking "yeah, I can." I thought it was some cruel joke that they ended up next to me. But it ended up being a visit back to a lot of special days and I was happy for this total stranger that he was having the privilege of spending that day with his mother. And she had the time of her life. It left me feeling kind of satisfied and happy rather than depressed. The romantic in me spent the ride home thinking (hoping) that somewhere, on the other side, Erfy was watching Lou Gherig try to hit Warren Spahn's breaking ball in a heavenly pick-up game. My own "Field of Dreams" I reckon...
And the GUEST with the 78-year-old mom gave me a $5 tip.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Indulge me while I play martyr....

but I'll be damn glad when Mother's Day is over.
That is all.