Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Wave Kid

A couple of weeks ago I took the family to Harbor Park for a Tides game. I am not a huge baseball fan but I have always loved going to a ballpark. All the food, the sounds of the game, and the thrill of foul balls flying your way have always made the experience fun for me. Sharing this with my family makes it even better.

We were having a great time eating funnel cake, hot dogs and peanuts, and cheering on the hometown team. Then sometime around the fourth inning a kid ran down the aisle beside our seats and encouraged everyone in the area to do “the wave.” Right away my kids are amped, and start the wave. The wave was weak and fizzled out a couple of sections away.

A minute later the kid makes another appearance. I turned to my wife and said, “Oh, here’s the wave kid again.” Now he had a name. He was about 14 years old, not a child, but not an adult. Tall and skinny, he was easy to see as he ran 5 sections away and gave our area the cue to begin.

I have to say that our seats this particular night were all the way down the 1st base line in the very last section before it becomes the outfield wall. To the wave kid, we had to be the beginning of the wave. The wave had to begin on the right and go left. He was focused on us for the next hour and a half. No kidding.

The wave kid was relentless. He told us to begin on the count of three and then he would run all the way behind home plate. In each section, he would run down the aisle and plead with all the people to join in the wave, and then tell them to wait for our section to begin. When it was time for us to do our job, he would be so far away we could barely see him give us the signal.

The wave would begin with good strength, because our section was spirited and we were eager to please the wave kid, but never did the momentum of the wave carry it all the way around the park. But the wave kid kept coming back.

At one point the wave kid recruited a helper, not as enthusiastic as he was, but she too was inspired. Together they attacked the crowd with renewed energy. Maybe the fans at the ball park could ignore one person, but never two!

I am embarrassed to admit I was getting annoyed because I wanted to watch the game. Adults do this without thinking. We get half way involved with something and then we decide that we are finished. Not the wave kid.

As other adults in the crowd tried to convince the wave kid to stop, he just became more insistent. He actually yelled at a large man who told him to sit down. Maybe this was not the best choice to convince someone to do what he wanted, but he was not letting anyone stop his wave.

This is when I began to see the beauty of what the wave kid was doing. Most people stop when threatened with a beating. Yes, the wave kid was going a bit overboard, but these small setbacks were not going to stop him. He made some poor choices, but his “all in” attitude was something special.

As far as I know, the wave kid never did see his dream come true that night. We left before the game was over because my wife and I did not want to get stuck in the parking lot. Getting home before the kids fall asleep in the car is important when you have to carry all three of them to bed.

I just couldn't forget the wave kid.

As part of our annual school system technology conference, I volunteered to present video awards to my peers in the Computer Resource program in Virginia Beach Schools. I wanted to do something different since I was allowed some creative control over the ceremony. Various sources such as Twitter, Good Morning America, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had been talking about a new web site, the Universal Record Database. This site is devoted to allowing anyone to hold a world record with only 3 rules as a guideline; all records must be, a) quantifiable, b) breakable and c) legal.

Combining the inclusive idea of creating a world record with all of my peers, and the inspiration of one kid with a dream, the idea was born. A video recording of a portion of the video awards ceremony for a world record-

Most Computer Resource Specialists Doing The Wave For 30 Seconds

Right now the crew, of only four people, at URDB is completely overwhelmed with submissions and is having some problems. I think this indicates that they have a great idea! Unfortunately, this means that you probably can’t see the video on the URDB website- so I have embedded the video submission here-

I am sad that I could not include the wave kid in this event. I don’t know who he is, or how to track him down, but I would like to thank him. Not because he gave me an idea for a record, or time filler for a presentation, but because he gave me a reminder about life. When you find something good to believe in, never let it go.


deb said...

Thanks for allowing us to help you set a record!

spdelane said... of the proudest moments of my life.

Robin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

Al...this is why I love you! All grown up, but you still "get" it.
I was so happy to run into you at the conference. Since I have now run into both you AND Amy, it is a sign that we need to hang out and catch up. P.S. How can a man that names his first born Cal, NOT be a baseball fan???
:-) Robin Baugh

Anonymous said...

Hi Al.

Great post. We're truly honored to have your record on our site.

Keep the feats coming,

Dan Rollman
President/Co-founder, URDB

Anonymous said...

This just shows what teamwork can do. When is the awards banquet?

Lee Mitchell
(Front row right near the end wearting black T Shirt in case you missed me)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great time and memory!! Who knew we were so talented...
Patty F

Al said...

Thanks for the comments! The record was fun, but being a part of the CRS group is even better.

I am honored to have the President of URDB commenting- especially since I know how busy he is with his site!