Monday, June 27, 2011

The Indians, John Adams, and Me

A Cleveland Indians home game isn't official until John Adams arrives.
Memories are funny little things.

The things that your mind holds on to and you remember vividly like it happened before lunch and the things that disappear into the fog of yesterday are sometimes random. I can remember what my first bike looked like (blue with an awesome blue glittery banana seat) but I can't for the life of me remember anything about my fourth grade teacher.

Some of the best memories that I have are of me hanging out with my dad. maybe it was going to the Car Show and meeting Adam West (in full Batman costume mind you) or my favorite thing... going to Cleveland Indians games with him. We would sit in the bleachers at the old stadium or once and awhile in the reserved seats. I remember running up and down the crumbling cement stairs looking for our seats. I remember holding my dad's hand as we walked through the streets from the car to the stadium.  I remember napping on top of the dug out during a game against the Royals.

At one of those games, I learned a very important rule. At every game, you must eat a hot dog. And it *must* have stadium mustard on it. I must admit that it was a very good rule that I still follow to this day. Traditions are important you know.

If I rub my head, I can still feel the little dents made from the hard plastic from my Indians batting helmet poking into the top of my head. If you ever had one, you know that after a bit of playing and wear, the adjustable headband would break and you were stuck with a plastic hat with hard pieces sticking into your head.

I always associate Indians games with my dad and John Adams, the guy I affectionately referred to as the "Tom-Tom Guy." As a kid, I never knew his name. I just knew he was at every game I was and he had the best job on Earth. During one game, while pointing to the bleachers with my hot dog, I proudly announced that I decided what I wanted to do with my life. My dad looked down at me settling in for whatever was coming next. I proclaimed to the entire section, "I'm going to be the first Tom Tom Girl!" I don't think he had the heart to tell me that John Adams was just a fan and he didn't get paid for playing his drum at games.

Last weekend, I was wandering around the ball park and I saw John Adams carrying his drum in the concourse  and I couldn't help myself. I introduced myself, rambled on about how awesome he was and how I wanted to be him when I grew up and I begged him to let me hit the drum. John and his guest (I feel like such an idiot because I can't for the life of me remember her name) were incredibly gracious and polite. John gave me a big hug and said I should look for him in the bleachers and he would see what he could do.

As I walked away, I was smiling so much I was certain my face was going to crack. I felt like I hit the powerball. He must get asked that question thousands of times throughout the season, and he was going to let me take part in the tradition.

I sat in my seat and hurriedly texted and tweeted while waiting for John to get settled with his drum and for the game to begin. Finally, the game began and I sprinted to the top of the bleachers to meet John and his drum.

It was clear that John had done this before. He smiled as he welcomed me up to his perch and posed for pictures. As he handed over the drum stick to me and instructed me how to hit the drum without breaking my hand. I was giddy, raising the stick and then BOOM!

I couldn't help but laugh. I looked at John and told him this was a dream come true. And then I started crying. Not sobbing or wailing (thank God), but just tears streaming down my face, sneaking past my sunglasses. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because I was so happy. Maybe it was because the sound of the drum reminded me of a simpler time - just a dad and a daughter hanging out and watching a game and eating hot dogs. Either way, John gave me a big hug and thanked me.

Before I even made it down the bleachers I had called my dad.

All I can think about is how great it is to be back in Cleveland.

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