As I was sitting at the Georgia Tech game waiting for it to start I was thinking about the last couple of blog posts I had written, Day 76 “Mr. Willie” and Day 77 “Models”. They were on the opposite ends of the “fan” spectrum. As I was trying to pull all my thoughts together on how this game interacts with the daily life of this diverse group of people, the Georgia Tech players were in front of me warming up. I noticed a couple of them wave and say hi to a guy behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first since I thought they were responding to his gesture. Then, another player smiling and waving, I fully heard, “Hey Rodney”! I, of course, turned around and had to ask this guy some questions.
“Baseball, Softball, Swim, Tennis, Basketball, Football, and that new one that they are playing,” Rodney said.
I inquired, “New one?”
“Yeah, you know, the one like soccer but with a ball and a stick”, he looked at me inquisitively.
“LaCrosse”, I said like I knew the game well (I don’t).
“That’s it Lacrosse” Rodney said. “All the players come through the store and I talk with them to get to know them a little bit. It’s hard to remember all their names, but it’s nice that they remember mine”. Rodney Hines has worked at the West Side Market for the last six years on the campus of Georgia Tech. He says he doesn’t get to see a lot of the games. But he tries to make it to warm ups, or for the last few innings after work if he can. On this day he had his Georgia Tech baseball shirt on but only had 15 minutes to talk to me, since he had to get to work.
Rodney was a very pleasant and unassuming person, telling me he got an MIS (Management Information Systems) degree from the University of Maryland back in 1986. He worked in IT until 9-11, but said that it was hard to get a job in that field after that tragedy. He moved to Atlanta to help his niece get her medical practice started. When she merged with another practice, one of his fraternity brother’s niece got him his current job.
Rodney said that he loves seeing the teams be successful and feels it is important to show up for a little while so they know you care. I was very impressed with that attitude, all I could think of was, “it takes a village”, even if you are a small part of it. Rodney said, “I am proud of them” and quickly added, “I wish them luck in the ACC Baseball Tournament”. As we were finishing up, #32 Freshman Eric Knox came and shook Rodney’s hand. I thought they were both were class acts. I thanked Rodney for sharing a little bit of his story with me. He thanked me also, shook my hand and left the stadium before the game started. He didn’t want to be late for work.
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