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Stories on the Road: A Meeting at Home Plate

A baseball game between the West Virginia Power and the host Hickory Crawdads was preparing to start on June 5, 2019. The scheduled first pitch of 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning meant the crowd of 3,556 in attendance was made up of students from area schools and senior citizen groups.

As customary, the managers of both teams made their way to home plate - Matt Hagen for the Crawdads and Dave Berg for West Virginia - to exchange lineup cards with each other and also with home plate umpire Drew Saluga. The base umpire, Mitch Leikam was also present.

As the meeting begins, a group of senior citizens wait near the dugout, as they will perform the National Anthem after the home team takes the field.

During the meeting, one of the choir members, a woman that I guessed was in her mid-70s, made her way to home plate, where the four men are attending to the business of pregame. I can see the woman pointing at all four men, one at a time, and I can tell that in pointing, she is asking each of them their names. I know this, because I can see the Crawdads manager clearly enunciate his name, "Matt".

After the woman met the managers and umpires, another senior had made their way to the area and got the woman, the two umpires and the two managers for a group picture. She was satisfied and rejoined her group.

What struck me at the time was another reason minor league baseball is such a great event. What also got me was this woman didn't give a darn about any sort of protocol. She wasn't disrespectful, but she saw an opportunity to meet four people and to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And she has the photo to prove it. Ah, the fun of being 70+.

As I came across this story in my Facebook feed a couple of days ago, I thought further about some sort of life meaning. I'm probably thinking too deep about this, but there's something to be said about seizing an opportunity, especially a spur of the moment kind of thing, and going for it. Like, for me last week, playing a piano in a auto showroom.

Too often we pass these moments up because we are too concerned about what others may think. Now, I don't suggest doing something that is disrespectful or offensive to another. But there's something to be said about taking chances at such opportunities just because you can.

There's something to be said in taking the undeliberate road, because the moment may never happen again.

National Anthem at LP Frans Stadium prior to a game on 9/9/19


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