Where Rich works they have 3 giant screen televisions hanging from the ceiling in the reception area, all tuned to sports. Then all throughout the inner offices there are more video screens hanging from the ceiling showing sports programs. Do you have any idea how many stations are all sports, all the time? Curiously, the people who work there don’t even really notice the screens; they are a bunch of serious, hardworking business people.
Rich knows sports. There isn’t a team, a score, a standing that he doesn’t know. He knows players, fans, management, contracts and who’s being drafted or traded where and when. This information comes to him in the form of statistics, e-mails and news that streams across his computer continuously and he needs it all to be good at what he does. With a joint PhD in psychology and communications, he has made his life work sports and leisure intelligence. He is a demographer, a social psychologist, a statistician. And yet, I don’t really understand what it is he does and when people ask me, I usually resort to examples. I explain that he does player health compliance studies for the NFL. He researches the use of steroids and compares that to public perceptions for MLB. He tells marketing people what they need to know about their target audiences. As long as people engage in or have interest in sports, Rich has a job.
For all of that, he’s not a sports nut and neither am I. (My main interest in sports is tied to a friendly rivalry with Ms. B and that cow college team she cheers on.) He’s not a hard core hunker-down-on-the-couch sports watching kind of guy. He watches golf (yawn). He golfs. We watch a little college football. We do catch and release fly fishing. We bicycle. I wish I knew how to curl.
Still, the nature of Rich’s business also means that he gets tickets to sporting events- all kinds of sporting events: basketball, football, hockey, tennis, triathlons and yes, baseball. While he is the envy of many of our friends, mostly our guy friends, he usually isn’t all that interested in going to these events. We like the triathlon on Maui. I like the U.S. Tennis Open. He’s done the Super Bowl routine and the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl and every other kind of bowl. If the Olympics come to Chicago, we will certainly be there but, by and large, Rich passes on really good seats in favor of staying home when he can.
Why do I have time to tell you all this, in such detail? Because we’re stuck at the airport, waiting to fly to game 4 of the World Series. I expressed some interest and next thing I knew Rich had tickets. So he flew in from business this morning at 5 am, came home from O’Hare, slept for an hour and we got in a cab and headed to O’Hare. And here we sit. The plane from Denver going on to St. Louis was delayed by weather. Then it got fogged out of here and went to Milwaukee. Now we’re waiting to see if it will leave Milwaukee. There’s another flight due to leave about the same time but that one is waiting for delayed flight attendants who are supposed to arrive in an hour or so. Then there’s one last flight out of here at 4 pm. We are booked on two and wait listed on one.
The weather? Foggy here in Chicago, raining in St. Louis. It’s supposed to keep on raining. Did you watch all those sad drippy people sitting in the rain waiting for the start of the game on TV last night? The game that never started? The odds are good that we’ll be in that same quagmire tonight. Rich just asked why I had the biggest possible carry on for 24 hours and I said I packed my down jacket, my rain shell, my rain pants, my hand knit wool sweater, my mittens, my wool socks and my hat and my umbrella. Because no matter what, I’m going to be sitting at Busch Stadium in St. Louis tonight, thinking about how Ms. B is a Cardinal fan. I’ll be eating hot dogs, drinking my Bud and screaming for the TIGERS. GO TIGERS!!!
(it’s overcast and drizzling here in St. Louis, with three hours to game time. To be continued…)