The first day, there were bees.
I should have brought sunglasses—instead, I was squinting as I tried to focus on one of the black dots swooping around my section. It looked like a bee. It sounded like a bee. It definitely swarmed like a bee. I thought this kind of thing only happened to the L.A. Angels or the Red Sox, not the Kane County Cougars, Cubs Low-A affiliate in Geneva, Illinois.
I had been an intern for the team for about four hours at this point. And now, as Kevin Sullivan (the PA announcer) informed the crowd that we were officially in a bee delay as they swarmed home plate, I had to figure out how to deal with pointy insects on one side and startled people on another.
Luckily, it turns out that bees are a great unifying force when they are forming a living barrier to baseball, so almost everyone retreated up to the concourse while we waited (I compromised by standing on the stairs halfway up) without getting mad or yelling at a very tired new intern who had graduated college less than a full day before and was functioning on fewer hours of sleep than a ballgame lasts. One guy asked me if bees delayed games a lot at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. I told him that, from my perspective, it happened one hundred percent of the time.
The Cougars lost. More than one person told me I was bad luck. It was just the Cougars’ fifth home loss of the season. It was May 18th. I went home. Ate. Went to sleep. The next day was the first day of a Cougars road trip, but I didn’t get the day off.
It kind of sounds like it sucked, and parts of it did a little bit (the bees were definitely more exciting than terrible, though). But most of it was great. Nancy Faust played live organ music, the sun saw fit to warm the air above 65 degrees, and I stared at the back of Morgan Ensberg’s head for nine innings from my spot as an usher, willing him to turn around and spontaneously and generously offer me a high-paying and respectable job for the Astros. Or any team.
Now I’m almost a month in, and it’s still great—this is my favorite job I’ve ever had. As general interns, we work all around the ballpark: ushers, 50/50 raffle tickets, souvenirs, parking, promotions, all over. Last home game, I got to work the coveted grounds crew position of the day and was personally responsible for hammering into the pitcher’s mound the spikes that Kohl Stewart later used to get dirt out of his cleats. I made an impact! Kohl Stewart is a 4th overall draft pick! I also accidentally hit second base with the thing you drag behind you to… drag the field during the game. But it was fine. It’s fine! Everything’s fine.
Also, the Cougars are 44-22 and have already clinched their division as first-half champions. They are 28-7 at home. Twenty-eight. And seven. Listen, root for who you want, but it’s way more fun to work for a winning team (a ridiculously winning team) than a losing one. I’m sure we’ll be losing some of these guys to higher levels pretty soon, but we’ll also probably be getting some pretty exciting new draft picks relatively soon too, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year.
Also, for those wondering, while the second day was relatively uneventful, on the third day, there was darkness.