05:53:43 pm on
Thursday 18 Jul 2024

The Ole Ball Game
AJ Robinson

Different companies have different benefits for their employees. I worked for a small company in Englewood, Florida. It gave each employee a turkey for Thanksgiving. The company sent various gift baskets to our clients and government agencies at Christmas time.

My current employer is great, in a different way.

Recently, I was part of quite the wonderful benefit at my current job. The staff went to a ballgame. Now, when I say all, I mean almost the entire company.

That may not sound that special, but the game was in Fort Myers and the company offices are in Bonita Springs, Sarasota, Tampa and Orlando. It was quite the trek. To help us out, the company rented a bus, which picked up the people here in Orlando first. It was early, just after seven in the morning, but hey, it was comfortable, plus we didn’t have to do any of the driving; just relax and enjoy.

Stopping in the other cities, the bus was soon full. We reached the spring training facility around noon. We didn’t merely have good seats; we had great seats, a skybox with a full buffet. Riding the elevator to the skybox floor, I was surprised to see an elevator operator. I thought those went out with rotary phones. Some of the other riders asked the woman if she found the job boring, if she liked what she did, and so on.

When none of the riders used the classic old joke about elevator operators, I couldn’t resist. Besides, I figured it was my last chance to say it:  “I would imagine it has its ups and downs.” Groans and chuckles resounded in the small compartment. I grinned.

Once in the skybox, the employees commingled. As I’ve been with the company for less than a year and never been to the Sarasota or Bonita Springs offices, I hadn’t met many of the other employees. It was great getting to know everybody. This is especially true for the folks I chat with on the phone or with whom I exchange emails. It’s nice to have a face to connect with a name.

There was also Ron, our boss, the owner of the company. This little extravaganza was his doing. I made sure to thank him.

Ron made a short speech before the game, thanking us all for our hard work. He said the company was doing better than ever and made it clear he credited us with that. Yeah, he’s definitely a good boss.

After that, a couple of the senior staff made similar comments. Then it was time to play ball. It was the Minnesota Twins versus the Toronto Blue Jays. As I didn’t follow baseball, I didn’t care which team won.

Baseball never was my favourite game.

When you grow up in Massachusetts in the 1960s and 1970s, the Red Sox raising losing to an art form is pure torture. The loss of the 1967 World Series, by the Bosox, is legendary. Thus, you were a masochist and followed the Bosox or you followed a different sport; for example, the Celtics were perennial winners of basketball championships. Growing up, I was a Bruins fan.


Ergo, the baseball game we attended didn’t especially hold my attention. Yet I still loved every minute! There was good food, good company, gorgeous weather and the game was actually quite riveting.

Late in the day, the game finally ended; the Twins won, 2 to 1. We popped over to a local hot spot for drinks and fun. Then the long journey home began.

This was something for which I planned. I brought DVDs, as my boss had mentioned that the bus had screens and a player. We voted, and spent the evening watching Die Hard with a Vengeance as the bus made the reverse trip.

What a great day.

I got home quite late, yet didn’t mind a bit. We had a great day, a team building day, as the motivational speakers say. I felt more at home at my job than just about any company for which I ever worked. Yeah, it was a good day, at the ole ball game.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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