Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Interlude

In terms of the anthem tour, the game in Birmingham a few days ago marked the end of the third inning.  It was game 36 out of 109, meaning that I had completed one-third of this anthem adventure.  So it’s probably time to do a mid-course assessment.
I know that I haven’t yet blogged about the games in Tennessee and Alabama (and now several in North Carolina), which regular readers of this blog have probably noticed. While I might offer explanations and excuses, at this point let me simply list some challenges that I’ve routinely encountered and some of the things that I’ve learned in the first month in Florida and the last six weeks with Bonnie and Arby.  Within days, I am sure, I’ll get a posting made of each missing game, mostly in the sequence of the tour.  (You can check the schedule on the website:
In short, I have learned how hard it is to shift gears, often quickly, between so many different kinds of work associated with this project—how difficult it is daily to travel, sing, write, and publish the blog.  On an average day, I
·         drive Arby about 200 miles
·         park and hook-up the RV
·         unhitch Toad and drive it to the ballpark
·         do vocal exercises
·         deal immediately (and hopefully inconspicuously) with idiosyncratic sound systems that distract with feedback and delay
·         stay focused on the words, pitch, and phrases of the anthem
·         take photographs of fans, ballparks, and players
·         talk with staff, players, and fans
·         transcribe my notes and elaborate them into a blog draft
·         sort through pictures
·         revise and revise the blog draft
·         upload and format pictures
·         re-contact teams about upcoming games and arrival instructions.
And occasionally I must
·         deal with late afternoon traffic (like that with construction on I-65 in Birmingham shortly before the Barons’ game or in Atlanta’s typical Friday afternoon jams)
·         speak coherently with the press
·         write notes to friends and teams’ staffers
·         find food and sleep.
So I’ve fallen behind in the pace of my posting.  Each time that I get a day off—like yesterday—I think that I’ll be able to get caught up.  Then I realize that maintenance issues for Arby and Toad need to be addressed (like getting oil changes and new tires) and that some afternoons need to be spent sightseeing or in museums with Bonnie. 
So what have these challenges and tasks taught me?
I have increased admiration for journalists like Chris Erskine who regularly write columns and meet deadlines.
I have increased understanding of the difficult travel and work routines of baseball scouts who sit through so many innings, make detailed notes on so many players, file crucial reports, and avoid eating ballpark food at dinner-time day after day.
I have increased respect for RV operators, especially those who drive with towed cars and those who trouble-shoot and repair the mechanical systems in their vehicles.
I have increased appreciation for photographers with imaginative eyes and for graphic designers who crop and position pictures in publications.
I am increasingly thankful for Bonnie’s presence and patience.  She makes long journeys joyful, reading books to me, finding fun places to eat, talking to me about possibilities for exploration, and driving Arby and Toad at times to give me time to write or recuperate.  She eases my anxieties about travel delays by figuring out alternate routes when traffic snarls.  And she tolerates so well my odd rhythms of eating and sleeping when I regularly disrupt normal dinner times by singing and when I stay up late or rise early simply to work. 
Sitting alone before a game, Bonnie's patience is displayed.

1 comment:

  1. Joe,
    Congratulations on sucessfully navigating this far into the season. Hope that you and Bonnie are enjoying every opportunity that you get.

    Just remember, that those funnel cakes are nothing but sugar-coated french fries.