The Walking Flag
September 8, 2013 4 Comments
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a week ago Friday I shared thoughts and moments from an Indianapolis Indians game my wife and I attended, in which they eventually beat the Louisville Bats 4-3. As I mentioned in that entry, the tickets were a boon from my employer, in exchange for certain services rendered.
The service in question was performed during opening ceremonies from a most unusual POV — emerging from the tunnels beneath Victory Field, through double doors in the far corner beyond left field, marching out to center field as part of a walking flag.
One to three times per year, twenty-eight volunteers using twenty-eight head-holes and 56 armholes don a 60′-by-40′ American flag for appearances at local special events. This particular Friday was a celebration of the last weekend of the Indians’ 2013 season. (I think. Allow me here to reiterate my shaky grasp of baseball, minor league as well as major.) My wife tried capturing us from the stands that night, but we were a bit distant.
We don’t have a fixed team of volunteers. Any and all employees are allowed to join in or bow out for events at their discretion. If too many people raise their hand, names are drawn from the pool. This was my second time tagging along for an Indians game. It’s also a staple at the annual 500 Festival Parade downtown as part of the Indianapolis 500 weekend celebration. I walked in one of those, but have been a spectator the past three. This parade never lacks for volunteers, so I’ve stepped back to allow others their turns. My wife and I have pinned the Parade as an annual date. Our decent, renewable bleacher seats are a plus.
I’ve also done two Veterans Day parades, most recently in 2009. My prior Veterans Day was rainy and grey, but we marched on nonetheless, no matter how unbearably heavy the flag grew as it became soaked. Unless the entire parade was called off, bailing out wasn’t an option.
Fortunately 2009 was a much more pleasant year.
How pleasant was it? The weather was everything you’d hope for in a event requiring a mile-long walk downtown. The team and the crowd were in high spirits. Best of all, this was 2009, before “selfies” were a thing.
Despite any negligible discomfort, it’s an honor and a privilege to be on the team. The community and spectators appreciate what we do, and it’s an uncomplicated opportunity to serve something greater than my own introverted self-interests. Well, free Indians tickets notwithstanding.