Saturday, January 05, 2008
The Power Of The Game
The assassination of a Major International Political Figure sent Our News Operation into overdrive. Just like every other News Organization in the World--our effort was to--not just try to explain this unfortunate of deaths--but also show our viewers a personal side to such a great loss. Nothing has meaning without the human side added.
Everyone was working around the clock--this story had legs and was not going away soon. As it turned out, a Personal Confidant of the Murdered Person lives here in the Washington, DC area--and agreed to an exclusive One-On-One with Our Network. Quickly, we gathered ourselves and headed over to his downtown office building. Little did I realize at the time--how Baseball would--unknowingly--provide some comfort for this person's great pain.
As we entered his office--typical accoutrement's all around. Furniture, Pictures, A Bookshelf with Books--and 4 Bobbleheads. Our Washington Nationals Racing Presidents Bobbleheads--standing proudly and in plain view of ANYONE entering this particular office. These Baseball Collectibles were the ONLY sports related items anywhere in site. Obviously--they were Special to this man.
Of course--as always--I was wearing something Nats. On this day--Red Curly "W" Cap and Red Curly "W" Hooded Sweatshirt. A somber mood was in the air. Under great stress from this loss--Our Subject for this interview had graciously agreed to meet with us. Personally, he wanted everyone to know what a great individual, and friend, had just been so violently lost. Introductions all around. He knew I had already noticed The Bobbleheads. And I knew--he had already noticed what I was wearing. No mention was made of Our Washington Nationals between us though. Firmly, we shook hands, but nodded knowingly.
This 25 Minute Chat will be remembered by EVERYONE present, and anyone fortunate enough to see it on our Television Network. A tear jerker like no other. Wanting to honor his fallen friend, this man let his heart speak out. Was he EVER TERRIFIC!! Over the course of my 28 Years in Broadcasting--I have been fortunate to interview many Great and Well Known Figures--from All Over The World. Few beat how compelling this man's story became. There were no dry eyes in that office--at the conclusion of this interview.
If you didn't cry--your heart wasn't beating for, not only this man's great loss--but a tragedy that makes The World we live in--a lesser place today.
Upon conclusion of this mesmerizing account--there was alot of consoling, sympathy and an even GREATER FOUND RESPECT--for this Fine Man.
"You're a wonderful man," I said to him. "I only wish we didn't meet under such awful circumstances."
Still with tears in his eyes--he shook my hand strongly, nodding up and down--paused--then looking right into my eyes said: "You are a Big Nationals Fan aren't you?"
Smiling at his unexpected comment: "Yes," I chuckled. "Some would say I am out of control. I have attended virtually every single home game in Washington Nationals History."
At this point--my correspondent started twirling his right index finger around his head to explain that SBF might be a little nuts.
EVERYONE BUSTED OUT LAUGHING. The somber mood had been broken. There was sense of relief in the air.
"I can't beat you on that (attending every game)"--Our Subject laughed. "But, I am a huge fan. I love attending every game I possibly can (a smile now growing a mile wide on his face). Where are your seats in the new stadium?" he asked me.
"Club Level--Section 218--right behind The Nats First Base Dugout. My wife and I were very pleased. How about you?"
Now--that joyous look of an 8 Year Old living in the Moment emerged from his once solemn face. "I have Four Diamond Club Seats--directly behind the more expensive Presidents Club. THEY ARE JUST GREAT SEATS!!! (Pumping his fists in glee). Honestly, I couldn't be happier. In fact, that's the reason for those bobbleheads you noticed earlier. The Nationals gave them to me for The Support. I love the game and I can't wait to sit in those new seats for the 2008 Season and enjoy The Nationals."
After all we had experienced during this 30 minute session--no one could have imagined this encounter ending on such a high note.
As I finished packing our gear to leave--This Fine Man approached me to say: "Since this tragedy occurred, I have been virtually unable to think about anything else. The sadness has overwhelmed me. And not until this very moment--talking baseball with you--has that sorrow even started to ebb away." (He paused) "For a long, long time--I will not be able to forget this great loss now before me--but that smile and laughter you brought to my face this afternoon--tells me--I WILL be able to turn the corner on my grief. Thank you, so very much (holding on to my extended hand for that extra briefest of moments). I hope to see you at New Nationals Park this coming season."--he smiled.
"You can bet on it," replied SBF--slapping him on his shoulder.
A True Story--names to be withheld. But, a moment that needed to be shared. At the time of someone's GREATEST LOSS--Baseball was able to comfort a man feeling great sorrow. Under the circumstances--I can't image Baseball having much more Power than that.
Never Will I Forget That Afternoon.