Tuesday, December 29, 2009

State Memories Project: West Virginia

Another baseball memory, once again from the big 2006 trip.

Our West Virginia game was in Princeton, which is, as best as I can tell, the smallest city in the US with an affiliated minor league team. (Population: 6,000). Princeton as a town had absolutely zero to do--not very attractive or interesting. We decided we wanted to just chill for a couple hours in a bookstore—a nice prospect after being together in a minivan for 6 days. So we found a Yellow Pages and saw that the only bookstores in Princeton were Christian bookstores. Wow. So we drove down the road to Bluefield, where there was a Waldenbooks Express in a mall. Two-thirds of the store was dedicated to Christian books, and there were no places to chill. Thus it came to be that we spent that afternoon in a mall food court.

But that’s not the memory. The memory is of the ballgame. A guy saw my Everett AquaSox cap and said “Everett AquaSox?” Wow! I said yes, and explained that we were on a big minor league quest. His response: “You look like those kind of people.” Not sure what to make of that, but nice. He was so impressed that we had traveled so far that he gave us a free sledge-hammer whack at the car (in the “Hit A Car, Not A Pet” promotion). That was nice of him. Then, after the game, I nearly won $100 in the toss-a-ball-into-a-hula-hoop-on-the-field promotion. Came up JUST short.

But what I remember is that the general manager who had recognized us, on the field after the game said “Thanks! Drive safely! We love you!” Under most circumstances, that last sentence would feel really dorky and strange, but for some reason, at Hunnicutt Field in Princeton, West Virginia, it felt okay to me.


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