When I heard that September is National Little League Month, I got excited. See, I'm from a baseball family. My parents played throughout their childhood and into college, my sister played from age 9 through college, and I played throughout high school and umpired the intramural league at my college. This doesn't begin to mention the shrine my mom set up for the Cincinnati Reds, or the obsession my sister had for the Atlanta Braves in the 90s, or how exciting it was to live in Kansas City when the Royals won the World Series a few years ago.
I still have all my certificates, plaques, trophies, and medallions from participating, winning tournaments, and setting records. I consider these personal achievements of hard work, practice, and love of the sport. Conveniently, I now work at a place that offers these items to the next generation of baseball athletes.
The fact is, I love the game, and I don't even begin to compare to Little Leaguers. If I love it, they breathe it. I played softball during waking hours; they play baseball in their sleep. Worldwide, 2.4 million kids play Little League baseball/softball. It's played in all 50 United States and in more than 80 other countries. That's a lot of baseball! Even celebrities (John Krasinski, Elizabeth Banks, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to name a few...) grew up playing Little League.
Why is this? Maybe it's the strategy involved in the game. Perhaps it's the adrenaline rush that comes with hitting a line drive. It could be the quality time spent with friends who also love the game. For whatever reason, this game has become almost legendary.
So, if you are one of the diehards, welcome! Have a fantastic month of celebration of the Great American Pastime!
We've partnered with J.D. Legends for a few projects, so our contact, Wasfi, wanted to make a video tour of our shop. We were told to dress a little nicer than normal because we might be interviewed. We did. However, some of us did not realize the format of the video.
It was a Facebook Live video, and we found this out 2 minutes before going live!
Hearts suddenly pounding.
"And we're live..."
Each of us were interviewed in turn about our specialties within the shop: Kerri with vinyl, Tyler with management, and Danielle with marketing and products. We were all nervous, though, so excuse our demeanors.
At the end of the video, Wasfi gave out a $25 gift certificate, and just like that, his assistant shut off the camera and they were on their way. What a whirlwind!
Let's just say that now we know to expect the unexpected when it comes to videos.
It was my second week of work. A man came into our shop--dusty work coat, roughly trimmed beard, tough bleached jeans--and walked up to the counter. My two other coworkers were hard at work, so it was up to me to help him out. I may not have known much about how to make awards yet, but I knew how to be nice to people! So, I walked up to the counter, smiled, said “Hi!” and waited.
He proceeded to tell me about a stellar employee of his, one of those who hadn’t ever missed a day of work, did overtime when needed, and labored to the best of his ability. He was also an employee who was about to retire. So with pride, yet sadness, the man in the shop explained that he wanted something to show his employee the appreciation he deserved.
He first noticed an engraved hammer attached to a plaque on our wall and thought that might be the ticket, but he wanted something bigger, grander.
I decided to give him a tour. I’m not afraid to say I was playing it off like I knew things I didn’t. Although, I did mention that I was new and might not have the expertise he was looking for. But I was determined. I showed him plaques and trophies and acrylic awards and resins while we made small talk.
But then, what did his eyes behold but a nearly two-foot-tall column trophy. This was it. The item. The largest trophy he could muster for his beloved employee. But how to customize it? What topper to embellish it with? To the catalogs we went, flipping through pages and pages of potential toppers. Unfortunately, most of what we saw were for sports. We needed something for construction.
“What about a hammer on top?” I suggested. His eyes lit up. “I think that’ll do it!” he exclaimed. So now we game-planned.
Pick out the base. Check. Choose the ornaments. Check. Buy a hammer. Check. Decide on a plate engraving. Check. Engrave the hammer. Check. Attach the hammer to the base… That was harder than we thought it would be. But, eventually, with glue, a screw, and patience, check.
The finished product:
Over three feet of delicious wood, metal, and plastic made for an appreciated employee at his time of retirement. Happy sigh. These are the stories that make my job fun.
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