Friday, July 20, 2012

Miracles at the Minor League Park

The parking attendent at the Mercer County Waterfront Park promised me the skies would clear by 7 p.m., just before the start of tonight's game between the Trenton Thunder, a Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and the Reading Phillies, a Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. And the skies did undarken, just in time for my family to participate in a remarkable National Anthem. 

The campers and counselors of the Blue Mountain Chamber Music Festival had been asked to sing and play the National Anthem at tonight's game. Our older son has been a counselor in the day program of this camp, held in Trinity Episcopal Cathedral,  for the past two weeks. The camp gathers children, many of them with limited resources and limited access to outstanding music instruction and offers them classes in music theory, chamber ensembles, orchestra, ear-training and movement. 

I was so moved by the sweet singing and the earnest stringing that I was wiping tears from my face as I listened. All day, it had poured, thwarting my daytime plans to swim, hike and weed. All day, the campers had been practicing for their big moment and trying on their new blue Blue Mountain Music Festival tee-shirts. When they rode the yellow school bus from the Cathedral to the baseball park down I-29 along the Delaware River, the drizzle seemed unstoppable.

It was raining when our family arrived in our van to drop off our son's upright bass. It was raining when we bought our hot dogs and nachos inside the stadium. It was raining when we sat in our seats right behind another family, relatives of campers with umbrellas so enormous we worried we wouldn't be able to see anything. But then, just as the parking attendent promised, right after 7, the rains yielded and the children were able to walk onto the field to offer their music. The umbrellas disappeared, and the cell phone cameras emerged as we settled in. 

I don't believe in magic or good luck. I do believe inexplicable, unusual events sometimes are put in front of us to remind us that Mystery keeps calling us.


  1. That camp sounds like a real blessing. One of the great things about minor league baseball is that it provides a forum for the initiatives of the community to express themselves. There should always be a place for that in baseball.

  2. John: It is one of the great things about minor league ball - while of course folks want to make money from the enterprise , there is also room for these kinds of initiatives too. Plus it is so affordable, relative to MLB and other major sporting eveents.