Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unnatural: A missed opportunity in NW Arkansas

Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.  The only surprise was when and how the convergence occurred to cancel my singing at a game. 
Late last fall I re-contacted willing teams and proposed specific dates for me to sing the anthem.  Amazingly, most accepted my proposed schedule.  The Northwest Naturals in Springdale, Arkansas, were among the teams that confirmed a date; and so my routing through Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma got set.  Throughout the winter and spring I followed up with emails, seeking to re-confirm the schedule and to secure game-day instructions.  Repeated attempts to contact the scheduler for the Naturals proved futile, although not one of my emails was rejected or returned.  That communication gap had occurred with a few other teams as well.  While I still anticipated singing there on the evening after Tulsa, I was naturally apprehensive about the possibilities of performance. 
In preparation for singing for the Naturals, we had found an RV site in Springdale and had set up camp there on the day following the game in Little Rock.  The relative proximity to Tulsa allowed us to drive Toad to Oklahoma and spend a night in a hotel, anticipating a return to Springdale the following day in time for the evening’s game at Arvest Ballpark.
At dawn on the morning of my anticipated date with the Naturals, I sent an email to the team’s general manager, whom I had initially contacted last summer, and I indicated that I had not received word from the staffer whom I identified.  I expressed concern about whether there were complications since I noted that now the staffer’s name no longer appeared on the team’s office contact list.  Still no reply.
Shortly before noon, I called another staffer whose title seemed similar to that of the absent scheduling staffer.  Somewhat flustered, she informed me that the original scheduler no longer worked for the Naturals and that, as the new scheduler, she had been unaware of the previous commitment or my project until her receipt of the forwarded email from the GM an hour earlier.  In the meantime, she had gone to the AnthemTour website and checked out the legitimacy of my project and the specificity of my schedule. 
While she let me know that a group of 400 school children would be attending the game and their choir performing the anthem that evening, she graciously offered to let me sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.  But since my project focuses on the anthem itself and not merely singing at different stadiums, I declined her invitation.  So Bonnie and I decided to remain in the security of the Tulsa hotel one more night while violent storms were predicted for the entire region.
And that night, for the first time all season, my “scheduled” game was cancelled because of rain.
After rain cancelled the game, the tarp still covers the field at Arvest Park the following day.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like many were called but none were chosen?