If I were to ever run for any elected office, I would carry a glove with me at all times during the campaign season. Playing catch is a fantastic way to engage new friends and ask questions about all aspects of life. Instead of town hall meetings, I’d have batting practice and shag fly balls. Those who wanted to ask questions would be invited to join me on the field. And if I were to ever run for any elected office, my platform would be quite basic.
Opening Day would be declared a national holiday. Families would be encouraged to spend the day at the baseball stadium nearest to them. If no professional stadiums are convenient, local teams could organize to play ball and benefit a charity.
Texting and driving would be illegal as approximately 25% of car accidents are caused by texting drivers. First offense is a $500 fine. Second offense is $1000 fine and 3-month suspension of license. Third offense the driver’s license is permanently revoked.
Third, a collegiate education should be affordable for everyone without requiring loans that will take a lifetime to repay.
Lastly. Free birthday donuts.
I share a birthday with Yu Darvish, Terry Shumpert, and Delino DeShields. I haven’t met or played catch with any of them. It’s also the anniversary of the deaths of Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley which I correctly answered at some trivia contest years ago. As of today, Aretha Franklin now shares the date. A heartfelt tip of the hat to the Queen of Soul.
Crystal is the Missouri State Representative for District 132. Our daughters went to school together for one year and I once sat next to her during a presentation on poverty at the Art Museum right after she was elected Captain Springfield. Crystal is also a birthday buddy.
Crystal ran for office to bring a perspective to Jefferson City that was lacking — millennial, female, and a thorough understanding of living in poverty.
“The people I meet are truly the best part of the job,” she said.
She quickly confessed that she’s not really a fan of baseball, which means that Opening Day still won’t be a holiday, and couldn’t remember the last time she played catch. Of course, we met in her district for a game of catch and she borrowed a glove and I learned the coolest thing about her.
For a few seasons, Crystal was on the Springfield Roller Derby team. Her derby name was J. F. Slay, in honor of J. F. K. Her number was 1960. She now keeps a pair of roller skates in her Jefferson City office.
“I was invited by a friend and knew this was something I could do. I’m waiting for the perfect moment when no one is in the capitol building and I can skate around.”
I think that sounds like a brilliant campaign video.
She confessed that being away from family is one of the hardest parts of the job. “The weight of the issues we deal with can also be so overwhelming. You have to intentionally take care of yourself.”
Still, Crystal loves politics. It’s what she thinks about and reads for fun. Her interest started while she was a student at Missouri State, which she currently represents, and has only continued to grow. She’ll be celebrating our birthday by hanging out with friends at a campaign fundraiser, stocked with Mother’s and BlackSheep sliders. I’ll be celebrating praying the Royals find a way to win.
As she sees the wave of young people both interested and getting involved in politics, Crystal holds to hope for the future.
“My birthday wish is that people in Missouri would return faith in their government.”
To thank her for her time and wish her the happiest of birthdays, I gave her a blueberry cake donut.
My birthday wish isn’t anywhere near as noble as Crystal’s.
My wish is to play catch with someone in the Hall of Fame before year’s end — preferably Denny Matthews or George Brett.