A noon game will decide who wins the series in St. Louis, the Cardinals or the Royals. Last year, the Royals were swept in a four-game series the week before my birthday. This year, through the first two months of the season, the Royals have won exactly one series. It is not an easy year to be a Royals fan.
School is out and my daughters are sleeping in, completely unencumbered by any test or paper or presentation worries. Unless I’m sick, I’ve forgotten how to sleep in, so I woke up early and came to school with my wife, lending a few muscles to help move furniture and clean out a mini-refrigerator and offer silent moral support.
Jamie works at Delaware Elementary School, the school where I attended from grades 2 – 6. I remember all of my teachers’ names: Mrs. St. Gemme, Mrs. Reynolds, Mr. Biro, Mrs. Rhodes, Mrs. McSweeney. My favorite subjects were lunch and recess — all the recess kickball and soccer games. I remember my first crushes and I remember meeting Sarah who used a computer to talk in the very classroom where Jamie works. When Superheroes are for Real published, I did a book launch at Delaware with Thor and Batman and Captain America; everyone in the school got a copy of the book.
Stephanie has been the principal here for the last 5 years. “Stephanie is an incredible advocate for all students and staff,” Jamie says. “She treats us all with kindness and respect.”
Stephanie the Principal is also a Cardinals fan and she dressed the part to the nines today — tall striped socks and all. I looked as hard as I could, but I could not find my Royals tall socks.
She brought along a bobblehead of her favorite player to serve as a catch-playing witness.
“Jim Edmonds is my baseball boyfriend. I’ve never met him, but I’m pretty obsessed with him.”
As soon as she said that, I remembered a poem written by Loren (Day #65).
The kid yells down,
“Jimmy Edmonds! Hey
Jimmy Edmonds!” holding
his Cardinals bat out
for an autograph. No
one responds. The kid
finally seems to shift
loyalty, yelling, “Hey,
Jeff Suppan!” Soupy
looks up — eye contact. Hope.
But then the kid shouts,
“Get Jimmy Edmonds!”
– July 21, 2008
From, The Birthing Tree
When Stephanie is not principal-ing or cheering on her daughters at sporting events or running, she can often be found working for the Springfield Cardinals. “I worked 50 games last season and my favorite part of the game is always the national anthem. I love when a good marching band plays. I also love when the preschoolers come in and sing. I even have a certain love for when it’s not so good, because these people are singing for their country. I almost get teary-eyed when the entire stadium is silent. I love my country.”
It’s been close to 15 years since the last time Stephanie the Principal played catch. She played on a softball team with her husband and won an award at the end of the season, “Most Improved Player.”
Those are the kind of awards that really mean something.
We tossed a ball in the shade on the front lawn just outside Jamie’s classroom, with bobblehead Jimmy Edmonds and Jamie cheering us on.
“The best part of working at this school is the joy that exists among all of the educators. It doesn’t matter what you teach, you will be affected by the special programming that takes place here. You have to believe in the mission, you have to believe in what is done all across this building, because you will be affected. Because we do believe in the mission, that results in people who are genuinely joyful educating the kids. These are our kids.”
I love this school.
Thankfully, Jimmy Edmonds will not be making over-the-shoulder basket catches in centerfield against the Royals today.