Last year around this time I went down to Canal Park to tryout to sing the National Anthem at a home game during the upcoming season. As I was handed the microphone and began singing, I immediately forgot the lyrics and basic structure of the song. The judges were sympathetic and let me start over. It didn’t go much better. Fortunately my ego wasn’t bruised. In fact I was emboldened to go back next year and try again.
Today is the day.
It’s cold this morning. Not cold enough to keep me from looking sharp as a tack. When I wear a bolo tie you know I’m open for business. Chilly as it is, I’m not sure what kind of crowd to expect. Entering the lobby, I notice a sizeable one. As I grab a clipboard and begin filling out the necessary paperwork an employee let’s me know there’s a two-hour wait. I turn to Spencer, my friend visiting from out of town and photographer for the day, and we decide that waiting that long isn’t a good option for us.
Listen y’all. I love the idea of getting to sing the National Anthem at a game. Baseball is my jam! On another page on this website you can find my monthly column on the Rubber Ducks. Based on the facts that there are approximately 25 games available for those trying out to sing at and there are hundreds of people giving it a shot this morning, the likelihood of me making it is pretty much slim to nil. Sure, I practiced. I downloaded a great Alan Jackson version of the song and sang to it while taking showers, which happens almost every day. What I’m saying is there are plenty of more talented and deserving folks here waiting to get their chance to be a star.
I’m not ready to pack it up and leave just yet though. Last year folks called and reserved a slot to tryout. I booked my time, arrived, waited for about 10 minutes, faced the judges alone and you know what happened next. This time around they had an open call for tryouts. Show up between 9 am and 11:50 am and you get a shot. Quite different than last year, out in the stadium surrounding, watching and cheering on each participant is at least a 100 people. The crowd is diverse and buzzing with energy. Many are still waiting for their turn and seem a little antsy.
I run into a gentleman tuning his guitar and wish him luck. Apparently he’s not going to pull any notes from the Jimi Hendrix playbook in front of the judges. I thought I was looking good today, but Stan Cline has me beat. Imagine if the Statue of Liberty was a six-foot tall dude with really sweet American flag apparel. That would be Mr. Cline. If this man doesn’t make the cut, he should at least be considered for a new addition to the mascot roster.
Alas, Spencer and I have reached the point where we no longer want to stand in freezing cold weather listening to the same song over and over, some versions better than others. Next year I’ll be back, more prepared than ever. Third time’s a charm right?
Ball is life.
Canal Park, home of the Akron Rubber Ducks
300 S. Main Street, Akron, OH 44308
For more information on dates, times and tickets visit akronrubberducks.com
Spring is here. Baseball is back. Dave Daly is happy.