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Archive for October 15th, 2010

On the last day of the Nationals season, I decided to buy some cheap tickets and catch the final nine innings before the team hibernated for the winter.  Although the Nats lost 7-1 to the Phillies, there was something magical about the game.  Watching dads hold the tiny hands of their children as they took one last look at the field until next spring.  Teary-eyed fans hugging stadium staff as they left.  It reminded me of a quote by legendary baseball slugger Rogers Hornsby who once said, “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Martha has been an usher for the Nats for three seasons. (photo: Reed)

Martha, a lower level usher, was no exception.  Fan after fan said goodbye and wished her well until they met again the following season.  I decided she should be my $10 recipient of the day!

This is Martha’s third year ushering for the Nats.  In fact it is a family affair.  Her husband and son also work at the stadium.  In an email that she sent me later Martha told me, “My son is a special education graduate, and loves his job there.  The Nationals are by far the best employer he has ever had.”  Wow, that says a lot about the Nationals organization.  Bravo to them!

It was a bit of a challenge to speak with Martha because there were so many fans who wanted to say goodbye.  On top of that, Martha was coordinating a picnic for stadium staff and she was supposed to make some final plans with other colleagues…but that didn’t happen she later told me in her email.  My $10 came in handy though as she put it toward the food that she was preparing for the picnic.  “You’re providing the ingredients to make a multitude of my famous brownies,” she wrote.

I honestly think I was the last person in the stadium. They'd turned all the lights off and there was not a soul in sight. I thought about doing a lap around the bases, but I just found an open exit and got out before I got locked in there!

Before she had to run, she did mention that her family was going through some uncertain times.  Her husband is transitioning between a steady paycheck as a teacher to a commission based arrangement providing financial services and planning for special needs families.  Special needs families have unique financial challenges that if not thought out properly can create tremendous financial burdens and stress on the family.  I applaud his courage to make this transition and help other families plan for the future.

Martha had to run…but as I mentioned earlier, she did send me a very kind email.  She mentioned that in addition to her husband and son, there was a woman who carpooled with them to and from the stadium.  She shared this at the end of her email.  “Our cohort in the carpool immediately said she had heard of you, read an article about your “Year of Giving”, now it’s my turn.”

I hope to see Martha and her family at my year-end celebration and then again at the Nats home opener on March 31st against the Braves!  Let’s go Nats!

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