If you knew us or were following my blog a few years ago, you may remember a story about my son — a then 7th grader and connsumate Nationals fan and aspiring baseball annoucer, who got teased about wearing a Screech hat to school. He blogged about it, then I blogged about it and sent it out on my twitter feed. Much to my surprise, Ian Desmond, short stop for the Washington Nationals, responded to my tweet, telling Jake to bring it to Nats Fest and he would sign it.
We went to Nats Fest, Screech hat on head, and I prayed that we could somehow pull this thing off. You can read the whole story in my follow up blog, but the bottom line is, we managed to not only get the hat signed, but also this amazing picture and a pep talk from Ian.
It was a great story. But it didn’t end there.
Last year, we were at Nats Fest, Screech hat on head, and Jake spotted Ian in a photo line. We didn’t have tickets for that particular line, but we stood at the perimeter and Jake yelled out Ian’s name. He looked over and saw him and stepped out of line to come over and shake his hand and say hello. He asked him how things were going at school and said it was nice to see him again. It was an awesome moment.
This year, as Jake’s 16th birthday approached, I had no idea what to get him. The only thing he’d asked for is an Ian Desmond jersey. Yeah, I could do that…but it’s his 16th birthday and I wanted to make it special. I decided to go out on a limb and ask if Ian would sign it:
Once again, I was floored — although at this point, I don’t know why because as Maya Angelou famously said:
When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
I so often think of that quote when people have somehow wronged me (or I have perceived that they’ve wronged me). I need to remember to think of it when people have shown me that they are caring, wonderful people, too.
Again, the tricky part was going to be pulling it off. I decided our best bet was to upgrade our regular seats on the 300 level to seats behind the dugout. I ordered the jersey, made him a sign and let Ian know that we’d be there.
At this point, there was nothing else to do. We arrived at the park early, had a dessert-first dinner at The Red Porch and headed down to the seats as the pre-game festivities started up. Jake ran ahead of us, so I didn’t see how things played out, but when we got down to our seats, he was stripping off his jersey and throwing it down into the dugout.
The pictures tell the story:
It’s become clear that Ian Desmond will not be wearing a Nationals jersey next season. We have known this was coming for a while, but reading his parting words to fans, made it real. It’s baseball. Players come and go…it’s all part of the game. But, this time…it stings a little more than usual.
Thank YOU, Ian Desmond. Thanks for showing us who you are. — for the heart you showed on the field….for the leadership you so clearly showed in the clubhouse…for being a role model. And thank you for making a difference in the lives of your fans. Especially my son’s.
We don’t know where you will end up…but the team will be so lucky to have you. And, our family will be amongst your biggest fans.
P.S. Who knows….maybe someday the Screech Hat Kid will be calling one of your games. This will be his favorite story to tell.