I couldn’t wait to come back to Fort Myers in the Fall of 2016. I met up with Jeff & Pickle right away and began going to their Sunday baseball games. Jeff also drove me to the Florida Gulf Coast University’s basketball games, both the Men’s & Woman’s games (there are pictures of me at this year’s games on my Wall). Pickle & Jeff got a kick out of seeing how happy and animated I got rooting for FGCU at the games. I do have a tendency to get super excited and into the flow of the games. I have an uncanny ability to jump up out of my seat and pump my fist in the air just a split second before the ball goes in the basket. I can almost always tell when the ball is going in or not. I don’t move in my seat if I think the ball is not going in…The fans who sit near me, make comments to me, as they admire how I can tell when the shot will go in. I enjoy their comments with a big smile. I tell them I have played and seen so many games in my lifetime, that I developed a 6th sense for shots that I think will be good.
Fall quickly turned to Winter. I got a phone call one day from Pickle that the baseball spring training tickets were going on sale Saturday. We had to go on Friday to sign our names in the book that the guy who controls the order of people who come to stay in line for tickets sets up at the park entrance. So Jeff picked me up on Friday morning and we met Pickle at the ballpark entrance and signed the guy’s book. I was the 14th person to sign the book. We then went back at 5pm to get on line.
Pickle takes good care of his people. He brought two coolers of sandwich’s and drinks for us to snack on during the overnight stay at the park until the tickets went on sale at 10am on Saturday. I had never done this before so I was very excited by the ‘newness’ of doing this. I never believed I would stay overnight to buy sports tickets at 73 years old. I am sure that I was the “oldest” person on the line… but being surrounded by all these younger people, both men, women and teenagers made me feel like I was a youngster again too! Around 11pm the local newscasters from ABC, NBC & CBS came up to the people on line to get interviews as to why we were willing to stay all night just to buy baseball tickets? Of course you know who volunteered to be interviewed — when I got home Saturday morning after buying the tickets, my phone was busy all day with friends telling me they saw me on TV! During the overnight wait for tickets we passed the time telling stories to each other. I had so much fun with my friends as well as the strangers around us as we listened to all the sports stories that were being told all night long.
As a reward for my staying in line (we all brought folding chairs so we were comfortable and not standing up all night), Pickle would give me and Jeff tickets for games that we wanted to go to. Jeff always made sure we were sitting in the 2nd row behind home plate and the ushers never bothered us.
During these meaningless spring training baseball games my mind would wander all over the place…one day I thought back to over 50 years ago in 1964,65,66 when I made up that crazy NBC Press Pass and got me and my roommate Joe into the Florida University football games and we bluffed our way into the stadium and then onto the field and watched Steve Spurrier and the Gators team, standing just to the side of the players, just a few feet from the sideline and telling Joe what Jeff told me at the baseball game, “You have to act like you belong there!” If you act like you belong there, you blend in with the people who do belong and no one will bother you. Not even the Florida State troopers were suspicious of me and Joe being on the field at the football stadium. So no usher was suspicious of me and Jeff at the baseball stadium. We even made sure to say hello and make some small talk with the ushers so they would get used to seeing us in these great seats whenever we came. One usher who was originally from Chicago asked me if I was a scout (he saw me wearing my Detroit Tiger hat) … and Jeff jokingly told the usher that I was a Cub scout! LOL! we all had a good laugh at that joke. That is the kind of fun I had all the time with Jeff, Pickle and all their friends that I began to hang around with. After Sunday morning games, I would go with the Big Bang team to their favorite sports bar “Twin Peaks” for lunch. All female waitresses who were young enough to be my grand daughter Ella would wait on us with big smiles as the guys jokingly hit on them. Jokes would fly around all over the place during lunch and I laughed so hard sometimes that I couldn’t eat my food properly.
My whole life, as I told you before, I enjoyed being in the company of “older people.” And I realized that after a lifetime of enjoying the company of older people, I was now one of the “older people” for all these guys I hung around with. It was such a nice warm feeling to know that Jeff, Pickle, Rick, Paulie and the other guys on the team “enjoyed” the company of this “older guy”…Joe Mosco. I believe it’s called:… “The Circle of Life.” It made me realize that since 1998 when I first came down to our condo after my 10 year wait, I had ‘lost’ all the “older guys” I loved to hang around with, and now in 2016, I was now the “older guy” … I hope I can be the “older guy” for many years to come.
Have a Safe Memorial Day weekend and please remember our military and veterans you may meet along the way to Thank Them For Their Service ! Hope to see you back here on Monday !
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