“Summer of Love” anniversary brings with it a baseball feat
Many historical events took place during the “Summer of Love” 40 years ago: there was the Apollo 11 moon landing, Woodstock, the Stonewall riots, and cult leader Charles Manson was running wild. But there was one other significant event that took place that summer — yours truly came into the world.
I was born on July 22nd, two days after the first moon landing and so every time a significant anniversary comes around for Apollo 11, there’s a huge commemoration such as the one this year. I remember turning 15 and listening to some news anchors tease an upcoming birthday. I, of course, thought they were referring to me, but no it was for Neil Armstrong and the boys, and their magical moon walk. I can only imagine what the hubbub will be like when I turn 50.
Because I do share my birthday with the anniversary that man first walked on the moon, I really got caught up in the uproar this year and felt compelled to go big, I mean really, really big. I didn’t have any idea of what “big” would look like but knew it would have to be significant. Lucky for me, serendipity stepped in.
At the end of May, I entered a United Way raffle at work as I was angling for the possibility of being the recipient of show tickets or even a gourmet meal. I hadn’t even noticed that among the many prizes, I could win the opportunity to make a spectacle of myself at a minor league sporting event as I was so focused on my own gluttony, of course.
I eagerly opened my e-mail to find the list of raffle winners and scrolled down like a lunatic trying to find my name – and I did – but it wasn’t paired next to anything that was going to feed my culinary appetite or desire to be entertained. Instead it was paired next to the opportunity to throw out the opening pitch at a Las Vegas Area 51s game. Oh, I thought to myself, now this was not a good development. This is not what I had in mind at all. I immediately tried to think of how I would wangle myself out of it.
So I strolled next door to the Marketing Department to pick up my prize and as soon as I walked through the door, my co-worker started laughing as she knew why I had come. “Oh Beth, as soon as we pulled your name out for that prize we all died laughing over here,” she teased. Yes, I guess it was comical, in fact my own mother howled with laughter for long that she almost had to be resuscitated.
Picturing the Luxury editor trying to be athletic was indeed funny to many people I quickly came to discover. My co-workers and friends are used to seeing me at show openings or black tie events, not in tennis shoes and a baseball cap.
That’s when it hit me, like a ballplayer hitting a homerun, I should do the first pitch for my 40th birthday. This was it! This was “big” indeed!
So I did what I do best, I got a coach. My co-workers love to tease me that I get a trainer for everything. But I wasn’t about to stand in front of a stadium full of people without training for such an endeavor. I am not saying I wasn’t going to make a spectacle of myself, but I was certainly going to lessen just the how large of a spectacle.
The big pitch rolled around and I was fully ready mentally and physically for the task. But I started to get nervous as I was led through the underbelly of Cashman Field and out onto the field. I came out of the dugout to the cheers of friends and family (oh, yes, I had not neglected to invite plenty of people for this exhibit of athleticism).
Lucky for me I wasn’t the only person scheduled to throw out a pitch that night. First up was Mamacita from 97.1 who promptly threw her pitch straight into the grass about 10 feet from the mound.
Next, I made my debut and took the mound. I felt like Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” but was probably more like Charlie Sheen in “Major League” as I wound up my arm and threw the ball. I sliced it through the air like a total pro, sailing it straight into the catcher’s mitt. He never even had to move his glove, it went right in like it had a magnet on it. Following me were two Chippendale dancers who might have received their pitching lessons from Mamacita.
Later I was told my pitch was “unhittable” (I actually wasn’t sure if that was bad or good at first) and would have “been a strike.” I even heard Don Logan, president of the Area 51s, wanted to sign me. I now have a new appreciation for the athletic prowess it takes to play in the big leagues. And, of course, I plan to reminisce often, much to the dismay of my friends and family, about my own time on the mound.
Now, I just need to start planning for 50 because that will have to be beyond “big.”
This entry was posted on Friday, July 24th, 2009 at 5:41 pm
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