Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back to Bat Girl Zen

After the pitch, we’re off back to the elevators to go to our seats for the game, with thanks to the Sox for supplying half of them for free (!). We say goodbye to our handlers, and then, as we’re getting off the elevator, my mom is suddenly AWOL. I look back, and she’s chit-chatting away with someone who looks vaguely familiar. She gets off, all a flutter.

Mom: Didn’t you see? That was Governor Quinn!

Cori and I look at each other, clearly thinking the exact same thing.

Me: Damn, I wish I had noticed! I would have asked him what the hell it is with property taxes in Illinois being so high!

Cori: And I would have asked him why he’s bankrupting the state with no pension reform. What the hell, guy?

Mom: I wish I had told him he looks SO much better in person than he does on tv! On tv he looks so old and ugly, but he looked so young and dapper! Nowhere near as horrible as he looks on tv.

Me: Umm, mom, it’s probably better you didn’t have a chance to say that…..

We then repair to our seats to watch the game, and have a raucous good time watching the White Sox kick ass, clearly thanks to my warming up the field for them and all. And thanks to Cori’s Rack. That girl has some amazing powers.

It’s notable, however, that only after he’s sucked down the two margaritas I bought him as a result of our bet, that my brother has second thoughts about the whole thing. Realizing that the Sox didn’t really kind of do anything, that there was no mention anywhere of the whole Breast Cancer Awareness Day, that even the players didn’t know who we were. And that clearly I did win the bet after all. Hmm, sneaky, that one.

NB Andrew: You know, I think it’s because the White Sox didn’t have their home game on Mother’s Day. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Me: Dayna’s game for the Yankees wasn’t on Mother’s Day, and she got to hang out in the dugout, meet all the players, hang out behind the batting cage with the coach – hell, I think they even let her run the bases a few times, just for yucks. Maybe even put her in the starting lineup. Dayna said it was the best day of her life.

NB Andrew: Well, it’s probably because this game is a couple of weeks after Mother’s Day. Too much time in between.

Me: My friend Amy’s game for Detroit was just this past Thursday. She was interviewed on tv, and her and her family were in a suite, and the Detroit Komen people stopped by to greet her, and the announcers kept mentioning her, and she said she was treated like a queen by the whole Tigers organization.

NB Andrew: Well….umm…..hey, how ‘bout them Blackhawks?

We also get into a discussion about the first first pitch vs. second first pitch thing.

Normal Brother Andrew: And you didn’t even get to throw out the first pitch – it’s too bad the Kid went before you.

Me: No, are you kidding? That was perfect! This way the Kid was the warm-up, and I was the closer.

Now, I probably sound like we had a lousy day – and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a gorgeous day at the ballpark with my favorite people, and we had the best time. Maybe not because of White Sox management - I mean really, it’s not like they needed to do all that much, and certainly nothing that would have actually cost them any money. As my brother said, this was kind of low-hanging fruit for them. They could have thrown us a few bones, like getting to meet and chat with all the players, and gotten some great PR out of it – you know, kind of like every other team did. After all, how could you NOT love the Yankees after what they did for my friend Dayna?

Not content to let breast cancer survivor Dayna Varano watch batting practice from in front of the Yankees' dugout, manager Joe Girardi insisted she join him on his customary perch right behind the batting cage.

Varano was welcomed by Girardi and the rest of the Yankees as an honorary batgirl before Thursday night's game against the Royals. She had plenty of smiles, but, as she expected, plenty of tears.

Varano said that she and Girardi spoke about members of the Yankees manager's family who had suffered from cancer. In between, Girardi made sure she met any Yankees player who walked by.

Asked who had given her autographs, Varano turned around to reveal a jersey littered with signatures.

"It happens fast and furious, so I'm not positive of everyone that went by," Varano said. "But they're all so great."

"It's an absolute honor for us," right fielder Nick Swisher said. "All of us, we've been very blessed to be where we are. We haven't had to go through the kind of things she's had to go through. So for all of us, she's a major role model."

Besides watching batting practice, Varano threw out the ceremonial first pitch and assisted Girardi in the delivery of the lineup card to home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora. She was joined by her mother; her husband, Steven; and three of her four children, Alexa, Siena and Luca.

And then there's the video of Dayna enjoying her amazing awesome day - I will only note that she did NOT almost get hauled away for getting too close to the dugout.

Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t be the Miss Tasha we all know and…..well, know, if I weren’t curmudgeonly and bitter. So yes, I’m rather annoyed that I managed to win the Bat Girl Contest for the one team that seemed to do less than any of the other 29, from what I can tell. The team that was owned by not just the Yankees and Detroit and all the other teams, but especially the Cubs, for god’s sake. I’m slightly peeved that the Sox didn’t do anything at all for the breast cancer awareness home game – where they usually do something for a whole bunch of survivors, not just the Bat Girl. And they give out pink hats or some such schlock. All my people deserve their pink schlock!

I’m bummed that no one bothered to interview me – not that I give a rat's ass about yet more fame and fortune, but because I didn’t get a chance to say what I would have said, which is this: that breast cancer is deadly. That there is no cure. I would have told them that all the pink is great, but the problem with it is that it can give the impression that breast cancer isn’t as serious as it is. That my friends and I are fierce advocates for moving beyond just awareness – that we need to focus on education, educating not just doctors who continue to tell women that they’re too young for BC, until they’re suddenly stage 4, but also women who have never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, for example, which can be very aggressive. And that we need a damn cure already. Awareness isn’t enough. Find a fucking cure already - our friends are dying.

But I didn’t get to say any of that, because there was no PR associated with this whatsoever, which is a shame for the whole "awareness" part of this. Maybe the problem is that the bar is set pretty high for this event, so anything other than the full court press seems a bit...inadequate. Plus there's some home team pride going on here - we were all kind of sad that our beloved White Sox were basically owned by every other team.

My family and friends though, they cared and they all made me feel like a total rock$tar, though I don’t feel I deserve that appellation. They made the effort to come spend the day with me, and those who couldn’t make it, sent emails and Facebook postings and irate letters to the MLB insisting that I get my first pitch – and, well, pretty much I felt like the luckiest person on earth. One dear friend, Dee from Alaska, cc’d me on the email she sent to Kate Gibson, the MLB woman – and it was so sweet and thoughtful, it brought me to tears. And further solidified my already Zen approach about the whole thing – that no matter what the White Sox did or didn’t come up with, it would be an amazing and perfect day.

But my dark day back in July of 2008, at the Sox game, that was a different kind of day entirely. We’ll recall that my whole goal with all of this was to get my perfect day back, one that wasn’t completely screwed up by my having to leave in the 4th inning to go see my first set of doctors – this was shortly after I was diagnosed – thinking that they’d be the answer to everything and that I could move forward with a treatment plan. Instead, these doctors told me I didn’t have very many treatment options, that chemo doesn’t work on my kind of tumor, that my only option was a mastectomy, and oh yeah, that even with reconstruction, I’d still be disfigured. “Your breast will never look anything like a normal breast.” Yes, they said that.

That was by far the most traumatic day I’ve had of any related to The Cancer. By far. It still has the power to bring me to tears, when I remember the feelings of hopelessness and abject fear and rage at the unfairness of it all.

So I wanted my perfect day at the ballpark back, with my brother, in large part to thank him for everything. In spite of his original “could be worse” faux pas, he’s been one of my biggest supporters, so the fact that he didn’t get to meet the players he most wanted to meet, that bums me out. I would have easily given up the 2nd first pitch if he had had a chance to do that.

But as my brother and I were driving home, I had a bit of an epiphany. That there are no do-overs, really, but that sometimes you come full circle in a way that’s truly satisfying. That I had gone from a very traumatic cancer-related day that was etched in my mind forever, to one a few years later where I was laughing and yucking it up and having a great time with my Cancerchick friends as well as others I had become closer to in that time. With some of these women who I had met only because of BC, but I now feel my life wouldn’t be complete without them in my life.

So in the end, I have to say that I didn’t quite get my perfect day back.

I got one that was even better.


Chuck said...

I'm a white sox fan, or was, and I can't believe that this was the best they could do. I guess that says something about the management priorities, that they think you should be grateful just for getting to stand on the edge of the field. I think it's time for me to become a Yankees fan. I'm embarrassed for them.

Anonymous said...

Tasha, it sucks that the White Sox were so pathetic. I remembered the threads on ysc about what other girls did so i looked one of them up and read about courtneys experience:

"OMG it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was interviewed by Comcast for a special report. Also got to go inside the locker room!!!! It was straight out of Jerry Maguire. Loud rap music playing, players in various states of undress, getting pumped for the game. I'm sure I was beat red as I went to pick up towels and bats. They actually made me do some bat girl work but it was fun stuff like re-stocking the sunflower seed bucket and laying out towels. I also got to but the Rosin bag out on the pitcher's mound.

When I was hanging out on the field during batting practice, several of the players came up to me and took pics with me. They were such amazingly nice guys. Many thanked me for being there! Imagine that! I was thanking them and they were thanking ME!"

I wish you had gotten the same, but we all know your special anyway so too bad for the sox. they are now the most pathetic team in the league as far as what i think.

Anonymous said...

What assholes. I read your blog religiously but this is the first time i've been compelled to leave a comment. Could the white sox possibly suck any more? I've read about you on slowtwitch and for everything you do for so many, you should have gotten the royal treatment. no wonder the white sox can't fill their seats.they've forgotten they should put the fans first.

Anonymous said...

Just saw link to this on another blog. Jesus, you'd think that with how shitty the sox have been doing this season they'd want to promote whatever good happy news they could get. The Bat Girl dealing with cancer with humor even with her bad luck, bike crash and brain injury and all, you'd think they'd be all over that. Hell, I sure would be if I were them. Anything for people to think that hey they mght be playing shit baseball but at least this is a team that gives a shit about their fans. I guess not.

Betsy said...

Love you honey - sorry the sox didn't come through, happy you had a wonderful time anyway. Muah!

Mary Ellen said...

You always manage to make me cry. Good for you for making a great day out of it - you deserve it!

Dee said...

Well, you made the best of it, I'm glad you got to meet the players and they let you stand on the mound and throw the ball. Still, the WS management screwed up, and they stand to alienate a huge bunch of fans with their half-@ssed attitude.

Anonymous said...

Tasha, shame on them for treating all of you like shit. This is why I'm a Cubs fan. Stupidity begins when you get to the south side. Of course, we both know I'm a country boy from way out west, so, we always shake our heads in wonder...

Love ya, Tap