Mack Williams: Back with The Dash
I was recently back with the Winston-Salem Dash for the seventh time to sing the National Anthem, along with my daughter Rachel and son Jeremy. Being there was like getting a recharge of “baseball Americana!”
As always, a courteous young staff lady escorted me to a before-game sound check. This also helps to achieve the optimum microphone placement to prevent that bane of microphone singing — the explosive consonant.
“Satisfaction” (as in “can’t get no”), as well as other 60s songs, was being performed beforehand by the excellent retro-band the “GBs.” This had special meaning for me, looking forward to the up-coming 50th anniversary of the East Rowan Class of 1969.
Walking in the concession corridor on way to our seats, I told Jeremy and Rachel it was the same with the ancient Roman Coliseum, where “snacks” were sold for the “games.” I will now send a special message to my East Rowan Latin teacher, Mrs. Thayer Puckett, residing in Heaven, Mt. Olympus, or some such Classical place: Dear Mrs. Puckett, I’m still giving Ancient Rome the credit whenever I can. Sincerely, Mack.
While walking me out to “sing for real,” the young lady asked me if I were nervous, and I said “Yes!” Nervousness only disappears when there’s no breath left with which to sing (and I don’t mean any bronchial condition).
As the players were announced, for some reason each looked younger in person than his static portrait on the scoreboard monitor (life carries a certain vigor).
Things went well with the National Anthem. Although I’ve had both hips replaced, those stringy little chords in my “goozle” still work well.
Now it was hot-dog-and-beer time! Prior-Anthem time was NOT hot-dog-and-beer time (since the goozle is part of the digestive tract).
I bought a “good ole messy hot dog,” but I didn’t get “messed up” with beer, as I only bought two, sharing the second with my daughter. The term “smothered” is insufficient for the description of that hot dog’s fixins! Instead, it was “landslided” with chili, slaw and onions. Its paper serving box quickly began to fragment from the combined juices (don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining). The box absorbed so much “run off” that I could have probably sucked on it a while, but didn’t, remembering that awful Hardee’s commercial where the guy begged to lick the cheese off of his buddy’s cheeseburger wrapper.
In this “ball game aura,” beer and hot dogs tasted better. Rachel shared some of her salted-in-the-shell peanuts, and Jeremy shared some of his pizza; and those items also tasted better “in situ” (BB&T Ballpark). Evidently, post-Anthem, I almost had the same ballpark hunger as George Kennedy’s character in “Naked Gun” (1988); but fortunately, I hadn’t performed the National Anthem like Leslie Nielsen’s character in that same film.
When pop-up balls hit the net directly in front of us, one man shouted to everybody:”That’ll get your attention!”
The ballpark organ (Casio or tape) performed “charge,” as well as those same old ascending chords (but I guess giving it the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue touch might be a little much).
Things were exciting, but unfortunately, the Dash lost.
But the most important statistic wasn’t recorded on the scoreboard. It was when a young boy was “walked,” not from bad baseball pitches, but having overcome a “bad pitch” at birth.
Thanks to Brenner Children’s Hospital, his mother’s physical therapy with him, and his own determination, this boy, who had begun unaided walking only the week before, was now invited by the Winston-Salem Dash to traverse the baseball diamond in an even more important “walk.”