When you travel as much as I do, and I am sure some of those reading this, you never expect to receive a pat on the back for doing your job. Well call me very pleasantly surprised, even call me blown away. Getting the call from Delta to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before my beloved Red Sox trampled the Tampa Bay Rays was amazing. Definitely one of the moments I will always remember.
Again, part of my job for Akorri, a software vendor of performance and utilization management software, is traveling to different regions of the country and occasionally the world to set up sales teams and get regions off the ground. Knowing this includes a “healthy” amount of travel I try to make sure I get where I need to go in an economical yet timely manner … trying to minimize wear and tear. Delta has been there for me.
Been loyal for a reason
I guess being relatively loyal paid off, flying Delta 200,000+ miles out of some 300,000+ miles flown last year. As it stands, as I write this on a flight tonight, I have flown over 75,000 miles on Delta this year already. Again, service is a big component of why I fly Delta, but so is going to the places I need to go too. So being selected to represent all “road warriors” that fly Delta was an honor. It also put a bit of stress into my usually cool demeanor (so I am told).
Got the call from Delta while on vacation and the family had flown Delta to visit the kids grandparents and Uncle in Florida. When ever I get a call from the 404 area code could be two things; a buddy who lives there or I start to think there may be a travel issue with my flights. To my very pleasant surprise it was Delta asking me to throw out the first pitch, there was no hesitation. So now the pressure starts to build.
My goal was to practice my pitch prior to the May 3rd game … well things did not quite work out for me in this part of my plan. I flew home from the west coast on Thursday night red-eye out of LA. Got in and after spend a few hours with my kids left before a day full of meetings. Got home later that night, spent quality time with my wife which did not include any pitching side work. Saturday was just the next day, and had little time to practice, besides it was raining.
Plan B … relax
So had to go to plan “B” aka try and relax. Not so easy when you keep thinking about the fact that 25,000 plus plus fans would likely be in their seats. In my job I am up in front of people speaking constantly, groups of all sizes, this was very different.
You get to Fenway Park at 6pm and they walk you down on to the field where you can watch the remainder of batting practice from the field, see the players come up to stretch and loosen up for the game. Note that the people I picked to go with me, my Wife Kristen, neighbors Kurt and Tara. Kurt who is a road warrior, Chairman’s Club on US Airways, and has been for a long time, remarked after taking the video from the field that there are a lot of positives being with Delta based on our comparisons of the two companies loyalty perks. Oh yeah he also did his best to make me even more nervous leading up to the pitch – thanks Kurt!
Now my nerves are in hyper drive for 45 minutes leading up to the pitch. One by one the guys you watch from the stands come out past you, Big Papi, Manny, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Beckett and Youkilis … given they are the reining World Series Champions it is quite amazing. Talk about feeling out of shape. Plan B consisted of me throwing the ball from the mound and neither bouncing it in front of home plate or sailing it into the backstop.
Pictures are better than words…
As you can see in the video mission accomplished but I am still getting grief about the fact that I was low down towards the grass – was told to stay away from the rubber by the Red Sox folks. I have to thank Buffi from Delta for make sure myself and the others that were invited to the box had a great time. Truly memories that I will treasure for ever.
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