Monday, September 04, 2006
The Presidents Race
A few weeks ago, I was approached by the NatPack Coordinator to see if I had any interest, along with some others in Section 320 of participating in The Presidents Race that takes place during the 4th inning of every single Nationals Home Game.
How could I possibly say NO!! The African Queen and I agreed right away. We added Cecilia, one of Sohna's best friends at RFK that sits to her right. We set the date for September 4--Labor Day against the St. Louis Cardinals.
According to the instructions, we all had to meet, in a designated spot, at the start of the second inning. Sohna, Cecilia and I were right on time. A 4th runner, a veteran of a few past races, was included in the mix.
We were met by Josh and taken down to the Dressing Area, in the bowels of RFK Stadium--given an overview of the Race, and what was to happen. Then we were all assigned our RACE HEADS. And these HEADS are HUGE!!
Sohna was chosen to be Teddy Roosevelt, the Ultimate Loser!! She and Josh tested Teddy's head on Sohna's shoulders. Sohna is not even 5 feet tall. She couldn't handle the weight, unfortunately, so we needed a substitute, QUICKLY, so Cecilia volunteered her husband-Mike. Josh switched out THE AFRICAN QUEEN for Mike and we were SET!! Sohna, to her credit, took it well.
Cecilia and Mike's kids, Jake and Zack, could not wait for their parents to run!!
The heads are GIGANTIC BACKPACKS that strap tight across your chest and are attached to a hoop that surrounds the pants. I was chosen to be Abe Lincoln. And, I quickly found out that Abe's BIG CHIN made it difficult to see. In fact, I could only see the ground in front of me. Cecilia was George Washington, her husband Mike, Teddy, the 4th guy--and eventual winner--Thomas Jefferson.
We got strapped in, but waited until the bottom of the 3rd inning to put on the Heads--IT WAS INCREDIBLY HOT!! inside those costumes. We all put on our heads and proceeded to the alley near the right field bullpen. At that point, we all tested running in the gear. Actually warming up. Abe was so lopsided and slopped that I had to use my hands to push his head up so I could see.
As the bottom of the 4th was about to begin, Tom--one of the NATPACK guys signaled all of us to GO!! Cecilia and I just started jogging, but the guy in the TJ outfit TOOK OFF!! He was 10 yards in front of me, before I even made it onto the warning track. I tried hard to catch up, but it was obvious, it was not to be TODAY!! I finished second, as Teddy, once again--was disqualified for cheating!!
We then proceeded up the aisle near the first base dugout, and I could not believe how many people wanted to HIGH FIVE ME!! Everyone shouting your name, it was quite nice. I must have slapped 50 hands before we got to the tunnel to exit the lower bowl. Kids especially wanting to touch you.
From there, we proceeded down the ramps, back to the dressing rooms, laughing all the way. It was a FABULOUS EXPERIENCE, we missed 4 innings of the game, but it was all worth it!! I could have used a shower right away, but I had to wait until we got home after the game. I must have sweated for 3 more innings, before I finally cooled off!!
We had missed so much of the game, I did not realize for 2 more innings, that Ramon Ortiz was pitching a NO HITTER!!. And then, I STARTED TO SWEAT SOME MORE!!