“Welcome to the Show,” is a greeting said to minor league players when they get called up to play in the big leagues in major league baseball. I’ve never played softball, or any kind of high school or college sport, for that matter. But man, do I love baseball.
There is something about cheering on your favorite team as a community, whether it be, a little league team from your hometown going to the world series; to your college alma mater’s basketball team going to the Sweet Sixteen NCAA playoffs; to your local boy shining like a star for his hometown in the biggest game of his career. I was fortunate to personally witness the San Diego State Alum and Mr. Padre himself, Tony Gwynn, go to the World Series in 1998 that makes you feel like a part of something bigger, like you’re part of history in the making. The World Series is THEE show of all shows for any baseball player, and for the team’s city – for the fans – it’s the most unbelievable experience that can’t be described, but only felt. In 1998, I was going to my first World Series – I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but I was going because I knew moments like these would be few and far between.
The minute the Padres clinched their right to the World Series against the Braves, I was on the phone checking with all my mutual Padres fan/friends, to see who was going to go with me. I just started a new job, having recently graduated from college and while most wouldn’t have the audacity to ask their new boss to take time off to go to a baseball game, this girl did. To my disbelief, my boss approved my time off, which taught me the lesson of, “if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”
With no friends to go with me on this journey and not knowing anyone in NYC to stay with or help me scalp tickets, I booked my ticket anyway. I was going to The Show. I didn’t know how, I just needed to get there because I knew for some reason, I would be able to be in Yankee Stadium to watch my Padres in the greatest Show of all. I just believed and put out the intention that this dream was going to happen.
My first night in NYC, I was in SoHo and walked to a local bar where I could watch the game – who wants to watch a game in a hotel room when you’re in NYC. At the bar, I was able to befriend some folks who were impressed with the fact that I flew all the way to the east coast just to see the Padres in the World Series, with no ticket in hand, no less. That night the Padres, I believe, were robbed of a win because of a no strike call on Martinez’s check-swing, whose at-bat turned into a home run to win the game. The only plus side of that loss was that these new found friends agreed we would meet up the next night and go down to Yankee stadium to see if we could scalp some tickets for game two.
Game two was like magic, at least for me, because the Padres lost again. As we walked around the stadium – mind you I had never been to Yankee stadium before – it was like the gates of heaven opened up with angels singing when I looked through the opening, between the bleachers of center and right field. There it was – the historic Yankee Stadium in all its glory. I couldn’t believe it! And just as I thinking, “How are we going to get in?” I hear a man behind me say, “Tickets, face value.”
I quickly turned around and asked, “How much and how many do you have?”
Did I mention that there were five of us? What kind of luck would you need to have the stars align where you find someone selling five tickets at face value for the World Series? It was my lucky night and the night that I believed that dreams can come true. Hands down, one of my most memorable moments in my life – going to NYC to watch my San Diego Padres in the biggest show of all!
Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith and determination to follow your bliss. This sounds so simplistic and kind of unbelievable…but there were so many things that could not have gone my way on this trip – but my mentality was not focused on the mishaps, but on the possibilities. I didn’t think about “What if my boss says no? What if I get all the way there and I don’t even get close to the stadium? What if…,” and the list goes on.
But those “what if” thoughts never crossed my mind. I would not allow any kind of negative thought keep me from witnessing history. I saw myself being at Yankee stadium, having tickets in hand and cheering on Tony Gwynn. Luckily I was so determined because after 1998, the Padres have not been since. I could have lost the opportunity to witness something great, had I allowed fear and self-doubt consume me.
Living fearlessly is hard to do on a daily basis. But if you allow fear to keep you on the bench, how are you ever going to play and be part of the show?