April 1, 2007

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks...

Dayton, Ohio is home to the minor league baseball team the Dragons. They play at Fifth Third Field, one of the finest minor league stadiums in the entire United States. It is affordable family entertainment and Felicia and I are lucky to be season ticket holders. As a special way to celebrate the impending opening of the 2007 campaigns for both our local baseball teams, the Cincinnati Reds played an exhibition game versus the Florida Marlins at Fifth Third field.

Felicia and I had four tickets and were going to be joined by her father and his lady friend for a quality afternoon of baseball. At the last moment her father had to cancel because of an illness his lady friend was not quite over. So, we were walking into the game with two extra tickets.

There is a tradition in Dayton where people without tickets stand outside the fences and hopefully wait for someone with extra tickets to pass them on. As we were walking by the fences I spotted a couple of kids. They were not the kind of kids anyone was interested in giving tickets to and then having to sit next to them during the game.

“Do you all have tickets? I asked.”

“No, unfortunately, we don’t.” answered the young man.

“Would you like a couple of tickets?”

Uh, we really don’t have the money for tickets.”

“They’re free if you care to join us.”

The look on their faces was thanks enough and we told them to meet us at the front gate and we’d get them in. Once they were in the stadium introductions were made and we took them down to our seats which are located six rows dead-center behind home plate. They were grinning from ear to ear and happy as mice in a welfare-cheese-storage facility.

"Dude, this rocks so freakin hard!"

As we began talking the amount of connections between the four of us were simply unbelievable. Micah and Felicia are drummers, Andrea and I are both big fans of the Moody Blues and we all wound up having friends in common. It was very cool. It was like we were all supposed to come together for this event.

After the game we invited them over to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Georgetown Hoyas for the right to play the Florida Gators in the National Championship game on Monday night. We had a great time and wound up making some new friends.

It turns out that these two kids everyone else saw only as a couple of hippies and wanted nothing to do with had a good story. Micah is a medical student working his way through school without his parent’s financial support. He is also working at the hospital where Felicia and will be having our baby. Yeah, how cool is that?

Andrea is a bright woman who has followed in the path of her hippie parents. She has lived an adventurous life and partied across the country. Now she is enrolled in college and preparing to follow the dream of developing her intellectual potential. There are stars in her eyes when she talks of going to school and it is nice to see such a sight in a young person’s eyes.

The time we shared together was a wonderful way to start the spring season. It was even more so because I had just lost a good friend the night before. I’m glad I followed my feelings and reached out to these two strangers.

"Mandatory team mascot photo."

You see, I follow my feelings a lot. As a matter of fact, many of the opinions I express are a direct result of the feelings I get about things. If something feels wrong to me I carefully study and research that thing until I understand it. I work hard to have opinions about things. I also try to have opinions based upon analysis of factual data and not simply as a result of emotional investment or reaction to things.

What is even more important to me than having opinions is accepting people for their overall strength of character instead of rejecting them for having a different opinion than I do about a thing. It is my experience that if one rejects a person every time a difference of opinion is discovered eventually one finds oneself alone with only their opinion to keep them company.

"Now I'm going to take this puppy deep..."

I lost a friend because of an opinion I expressed here on my blog. It saddens me, but I simply can not, nor will I ever apologize for either having an opinion or expressing it. If something I post on my blog arouses an emotional response in your being then I have done my job as a writer. I want you to think about what you read on these pages. I want you to have an emotional reaction to the content of my blog.

What I do not want you to feel from the words you read here is that you (as an individual) are being personally attacked. I do my very best to target institutions and leave individuals out of the line of fire. If you ever find yourself of the opinion that you as an individual are being attacked by the content of my blog I ask you to carefully examine that opinion. Is it based upon careful analysis of factual data or simply an emotional response based on investment or reaction?

What brings us together is our shared experience. What keeps us together is accepting each other in spite of our individual differences. Each of us is a unique individual with a unique set of worldviews and opinions about every topic under the sun. In the end, isn’t that simply one more trait we all share in common? Isn’t it just one more part of the great shared experience we all know as life? Please, don’t throw friends away because of a difference of opinion. They are far too valuable a commodity to be so easily discarded.


Blogger Em said...

Morning Dirk! What a nice story...and a nice analysis. This young couple were lucky to meet you. Everyone had a great time just because you two were open to inviting them in. If only others were as open to a bit of adventure.

April 01, 2007 7:50 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

You are so great for first sharing your tickets and doing so with young hippies. I am such a new friend I didn't know your lady had a bun in the oven which is even greater. I am so glad to have landed upon your planet, Dirk, you are a NICE guy. I revealed the latest round of lyrics with video.
Be seeing you for sure man.

April 01, 2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger psycho-therapist said...

what a fantastic post!!
i follow my feelings too and have discovered magic happens when i do. one of my favorite books (and god knows there are a lot) is There are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives by Robert Hopcke. Do yourself a favor and grab this book. I have a FEELING that you will dig it.
And that sucks about losing a friend. In my blog, i have a tendency to let it all hang out. and probably come across as a nutjob. which is okay because it's the part that worries and fascinates me the most. i'm a therapist, duh. you know? anyway.. i always enjoy your writing. blog on, brave soldier!

April 01, 2007 9:54 AM  
Blogger Pepper said...

Felicia and you are two kind souls, kindred spirits. What a wonderful post. A lot of people would have turned their backs and miss this opportunity. I don't know if it is because of fear or ignorance. Wonderful post.

April 01, 2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger Cinderella said...

That looks like so much fun!!! You look like a cool cat to hang around with! I love the picture with the dragon, too cute!!

April 01, 2007 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very nice story...Let me tell you something: I am one who spent most of her 31 years closed up and not reaching out to anyone. At the time it was a survival thing.

Now I am listening to my heart, and am experiancing way more happiness due to the little things.

April 01, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

wow...what a game....what a time spent with good people....you know Dirk I knew there was something about you I liked....not just he fact that you are a Moody Blues fan....but the you speak your mind....just like my hubby....brutely honest....at first it is stabbing but you know....once a person is able to digest it...I would far rather have truth than something sugar coated...although sugar is nice sometimes....great post!

Now about the Moody blues...I saw them at an outdoor concert with about the Vancouver Symphony...it was fabulous...one of the best concerts I have ever been too!

April 01, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

it is unfortunate when people get caught up in the little things like different opinions and miss the opportunity to find out how similiar we all are..nicely said and the dragon mascot just rocks :)

April 01, 2007 11:57 AM  
Blogger C-dell said...

You are good people. That was really good thing you did sharing your tickets with those people. I always think you should do a good deed for a stranger. I also agree with you about the not losing friends thing. I never decide to not be someones's friend over politics, religion, or anything else. I put that to the side in a discussion. Great post friend. See you when I see you peace.

April 01, 2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Well said, Dirk!!!! Glad you reached out & found these new friends. What a fabulous time it looks like y'all had. Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking post. (Actually read another friend's post with a somewhat similar thought a couple of minutes before, about looking past one's differences to see similarities and to give people a shot even if it's somebody you think you might not normally mesh with.)

Have a great Sunday!

April 01, 2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

Dirk, you are just a very nice man. I follow my instincts, too, always have. And, sometimes I have followed them into some scary places, but it always turned out ok.

April 01, 2007 2:59 PM  
Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Very cool about meeting Micah and Andrea! It is aewsome when you meet someone like that and find that you have so many connections.

April 01, 2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Great story man. You're breaking all the sterotypes I've had against hippies. It's a pleasure to read your blog.

And of course, Go Bucks!

April 01, 2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

Your wife's a drummer! Wow- just like Tipper Gore!

I had some extra tickets for THE WHO and gave them to a young lady who was crying because she lost track of her friend couldn't get in the venue. Turned out it was the little sister of my best friend from sixth grade (all growed up!)

I see you're still smarting of that whole "WIAZRD SHAT" experience! Are saying that you and the Wiz are on the outs? Mommy, Daddy... please don't fight any more!

Great post!

April 01, 2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger Dirk_Star said...

craig, I certainly hope not!

The wizard is my good friend and I think we are only having some fun.

todd, hippies have been getting a bad rap for awhile.

April 01, 2007 8:07 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Minor league baseball is sooo much fun. Baseball is the best game to see in person too. By far!

People sometimes tend to be a little bit sensitive to things posted on blogs. They take things personally and often times don't take the time to really figure out what somebody is saying. There's nothing you can really do about that. If they aren't willing to accept that people have different opinions and beleifs then that's their problem.

April 01, 2007 10:40 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

1. You are damn lucky. I enjoy minor league ball more than the majors. The Astros have a minor league team that is 3 hours away, so I get stuck going to the Astros (who I do love) instead.

2. You are also a good man. A very good man for letting those folks join you.

3. Don't worry about offending people. I write to entertain and sometimes, I know feelings are going to be hurt. I don't hate anyone, but damn, I will laugh at you and I expect you to laugh back at me.

4. IT IS OPENING DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 02, 2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Cool blog, man. I think we knew each other in another life. I've added you to my blogroll.

April 02, 2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger Wizened Wizard said...

Hmmm. How did I miss this post?

First of all, I love baseball. Our "home team" used to be the Montreal Expos, but you know what happened to them... Lucky you to have a great minor league park nearby! And good on you for making friends out of strangers.

Well-put piece on emotions vs. rationally founded opinion. Although now I can't for the life of me figure out why you attacked my hat. Was that rational? Or emotional? Is it the institution of wizardry that you have found wanting? Or is a baseball cap somehow superior to a fine velvet lid with pheasant feathers? (Well, okay, maybe you've got me there...)

April 03, 2007 11:01 AM  

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