Summer Seasons This past summer I worked at the Greenville Braves Stadium. It was so much fun. Best of all was the sounds and smells of the stadium. It was a very soothing but arousing place. I would always feel better after a night at the stadium.
I would first arrive to the stadium to the sound of Rock 101.1 WROQ screaming its guitar riffs over the P.A. System. As I come closer to the gate, it opens with a loud clank of metal on metal, and a fellow employee greets me with a warm hello. I take a look over the ball field. It looks so peaceful. Its grass as perfect as the greens on a golf course, and the dirt is the perfect reddish-orange color. The grounds crew hoses down the dirt. I see them scrambling like ants that have just had their home demolished. The dirt becomes a darker shade of orange, which only makes things piece together more perfectly.
Taking a deep breath, I smell the stale aroma of last night's peanuts and nachos. Walking over to the Speed Pitch game, I pick up a baseball. I run my fingers across every little stitch, and feel the true grain of the leather. I wait to find the beat of the Van Halen song playing. Finding it, I throw the ball against the net. It thuds exactly with the beat of the song. The speedometer has 73 in big yellow numbers on it. I smile and walk over to the team room to get changed into my uniform. Now, its time to work.
As the fans arrive, they remind me of a water faucet. First they come through the gates in small drips and spurts, but soon they begin to just pour in. The concession stands begin to open and the smell of the pizza and chilidogs cooking permeate the whole stadium. The warm pizza sauce and chili smells mix in a way that reminds me of why this is America's favorite past time. I look at the clock on the scoreboard. Through the burnt out and broken bulbs, I translate the minutes until game time. I have five minutes until pre-game ceremonies. So I head over to the office to get the T-shirt gun. I can smell the thousands of different perfumes and colognes that people have on, and I pick out the people who didn't wear any. When I open the office door, its like a wall of cold air rushes at me like a freight truck on a one-way street. I greet the manager, grab the T-shirt gun, and head down to the field.
Soon the announcer comes over the P.A. System. In the background are the beats of Queen's "We Will Rock You,"ÃÂ and he begins to boom the names of the starting players and their positions. The roar of the crowd is overwhelming when he announces that John Smoltz will be pitching for the evening. I hear my name announced, and I pick up my gun slowly. Seeing the bright yellow gun with the blue Santa Fe logo on the side, the crowd knows this is their chance to get a free shirt. The screams become deafening and everyone stands to their feet. I shoot one shirt on the left side as kind of a freebie. The right and middle stands start to boo me. So I walk over to their section. They go crazy. Everyone starts shouting, "We want a shirt,"ÃÂ or, "Hey shoot it over here!"ÃÂ I make them rally back and forth between the two sections to see who wants it more. They are like two lights on opposite sides of a dark room, battling back and forth to try and light the room more than the other. I finally shoot one to the middle. As the gun kicks back I watch the shirt go all the way over the 30 foot net behind home plate. I hear the umpire bellow out, "Play ball!"ÃÂ Then I know that I have to clear the field.
After coming off the field, I know that this is the fun part. I walk back through the crowd of people. Pushing my nose through the clouds of smells of giant pretzels and nachos. I smell the pungent smell of a burning cigarette. As I walk through its cloud of smoke, my eyes start to water. After I strain to find a spot for my small body to squeeze into the stands, I sit back and enjoy the game. The second my feet are off the ground, its like a load of bricks comes off my shoulders. The sounds of the ball cracking off the bat and then burying itself into the far outfield wall releases all of the tension in my body. I smile, and know that I have had a good night at work.