Sometimes you need a change of perspective.
I stopped watching the daily news years ago, back when I still worked at a church, because the news simply told stories about the worst in humanity — murder and greed and hate and scandal. The news did a marvelous job of playing into fear and paranoia, increasing neighborly distrust and suspicion. When I watched the nightly news I could literally feel my pulse and blood pressure rising and it almost always affected my dreams. Turning off the nightly news was a good change of perspective for my overall health.
Playing catch every day has been a welcomed change in perspective. Since moving back to Springfield in 2012, as a writer, I spend most of my time in between my ears, working on words and sentences and wondering if I should prioritize one project or another. Now, I’ve been invited out of my solitude to interact with people I never would have met were it not for the rather ridiculous catch-playing resolution.
Former Springfield mayor Bob (Day #136) now works part-time as a bellman at the University Plaza Hotel. He introduced me to Brent, the General Manager, who invited me on to the roof for an early morning game of catch.
The University Plaza Hotel has 272 rooms, a day spa, and a Starbucks. Brent escorted me to the roof where I could see Drury University, MSU, and the top of one building from Evangel University. The tops of trees blanketed the city and a cool breeze helped keep the humidity in check. I peeked over the edge and spotted my van in a full parking lot below. I felt my heart pound a little harder. Situated in downtown, the roof of the University Plaza offers a pretty great view of Hammons Field.
“Definitely not the place to test your arm, right?” Brent said.
Brent grew up playing baseball and basketball in southwest Missouri. He’s a Cardinals fan, of course, but he also went to plenty of Royals games, too. He’s been the GM for two years and self-medicates with caffeine to stave off afternoon naps.
“The coffee shop is only fifty feet from my desk. The darker the roast the better.”
My favorite self-medication is Dr Pepper.
Earlier this spring, Brent took his family on vacation to Orlando, Florida.
“Walking down the streets of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter it was so chilly, I had to buy a sweatshirt!”
Brent will not be needing that sweatshirt in Springfield for several months.
Playing catch nine stories up (and on a new roof to boot) was definitely a first. The view was spectacular and sounds of Springfield were just beginning to stir below. Ironically, one of the rooftop thoughts I had was, “I would love to have an office up here, where I could be alone with a great view.”
Today is not Brent’s birthday…but it is his daughter’s.
Today is also a great date in baseball history. On June 29, 1905 the real Archibald “Moonlight” Graham played right field for the New York Giants. So, Royals, if you need a feel-good story during this 50th season where making the playoffs just doesn’t look possible, I’ll gladly volunteer to patrol right field for half an inning.