maniacmarshall: (Default)
Almost done, so I can report on Gencon next. I expect that report to be a lot shorter. We'll just have to see...

I've decided NOT to cut this part, because the subject of it deserves to be read by everyone.

The night was not without sadness, however. You see, when I  was in College, I used to go to 50+ games a year. I went to every game that didn’t  interfere with work or a test. Hell, if there was a long enough rain delay during a game that took place while I was at work, I'd drive over to catch the last few innings. During that time, I got to know a lot of the other regulars in the left field bleachers. We all used to sit together in the corner of the bleachers near the bullpen. If any of you reading this are Cardinal fans, and ever used to hear Mike Shannon say "The 375 gang is here in force again tonight." That was us he was talking about.

Back then, bleachers didn't go on sale till 2 hours before the game every day, so somone, often me, had to go get in line early in the day to get our tickets. Nothing like getting out of class, going down to the stadium, and laying in line for 3 hours or so, though the beer made it a little more tolerable ;) (In St. Louis, it is not, or at least, was not at that time, against the law to drink open package liquor right out on the street, so I usually borught a cold 12 pack and some ice to share with my line buddies)

THE hardest thing about moving away from St. Louis and starting a "real job" in 1991 was that I had to leave my beloved baseball team, and my brothers and sisters in "The Pit" behind. (We called ourselves the pit because we sat in the hottest place in the entire park. Not only did the sun shine on us about as long as anywhere else in the park, but the exhaust from the Stadium Club's AC blew right down on us X_X)

Over the years, I've kinda lost touch with most of those people. Many of them still go to games and sit together just like in the old days, but, I've moved so many times and changed phone numbers so many times, I'd really just kinda lost touch with everyone. (Remember, 1991 was before the internet or cell phones were big, so we didn’t have a big email list then) Oh, sure, when I WAS able to make a game a couple times a year, I'd go hang out with them before or after a game, but, it wasn't like it used to be, and, honestly, it's my fault more than anything else for allowing myself to lose touch.

One of the Beer vendors, Russ, has been selling beer in the left field bleachers for like 30 years, so before I was even able to go to games. Every time I do get to go, he's the only one I buy beer off of, and, unlike the others, we HAVE kind of kept up with each other. For a while, we'd even go the annual Alton vs. East St. Louis football game (the poor guy used to teach school at east side for a day job…)

So before the game, I flag Russ down and have him set me up with a Bud Light, and while he's pouring it for me he hits me with: "You heard that Quinton died about a month ago right?"

I just couldn’t believe it. I made him repeat it, because I didn't want to believe it. Quinton Washington, the self proclaimed, but undeniable King of the Left Field Bleachers was gone.

"Yeah, he was here at the game one night, then didn't show up for the day game the next day. He had a seizure and died in the middle of the night." Russ informed me.

I wasn't as good of friends with Quinton as I was with some of the others, like Russ, Ted, Linda, "Crazy" Dave, and "Stat Man" Jeff, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. You always think that people like that are going to be there forever, you know, and then, when they aren't, it leaves a big hole in your life. Not as big a hole as when a parent, sibling, or child passes away, but still, a hole, because when you get to know people as well as I knew the people in the pit, it's as close to losing a family member as it gets when one of them passes on.

It makes me sad that I couldn't go to the funeral, or, at least send flowers, because I didn't know he had died.

I guess it's yet another lesson to live life to the fullest, and never take things for granted. I wanted to go down and see the guys after the game, but everyone was feeling really crappy, especially Rachel, and I thought we'd best just go get back in the Air Conditioning.

You can bet though, that the next time I get a chance to go to a game, I WILL be getting cell phone numbers and emails from everyone. Life's just too damn short and unpredictable to do otherwise.

I'm also going to try to make sure that I don't let myself lose touch with my new friends that I'm meeting now that I'm hitting the convention circut again (It's all Rachel's fault for moving in with me and giving me somone to go to con's with again). As I get older, I discover more and more that it's friends and relationships that really mean the most in life, at least to me.

The next day, we considered going to the Arch, but, with everyone drained from the weekend, we decided to just go home, and hit the Arch another time.

It was a strange, fun at times, sad at times, and almost surreal at time two weeks. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I enjoyed typing it up.

Next up: GenCon
maniacmarshall: (Default)
You thought the others were long didn't you...

*Shakes head*

maniacmarshall: (Default)
Installment two is also quite large, so once again, we present it in the form of a cut. This instalment isn't quite as entertaining as the first, but does provide some indepth info about my con experience  from the time I picked BD and Dustin up through Thursday, which was an unusually busy day for Archon this year. Read on if you dare!

maniacmarshall: (Default)
This is actually mostly a report of bizare things that happened the week before the con, though there are a few con tie in's as well. Since it's SO long, Ill put it under a cut.


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March 2012

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