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.

1 comment:

Melinda Sileo said...

You get tips! You shouldn't post that on your blog - the IRS is watching.
Mother's Day was a sad day in the beginning until precious little Chinese face said, "Look what I made you Mommy." and showed me a wonderful little heart and card. I know Mama would want me to enjoy her every day but especially on Mother's Day.
I remember leaving straight from church to head to Atlanta Stadium. Good times.