As I mentioned, on Wednesday, I went to Sports4Kids and the 24-Hour Children's Center to drop off the season tickets that Athletics Nation generously donated for the kids.
I wanted to share with you a couple of photos and let you know that it felt extremely good to do something like this. Every time you watch a weekend home game and even a few Monday games, just realize that there will be some kids attending those games and experiencing a few moments of joy thanks to your generosity.
My first stop was to get the tickets from the A's ticket services office. While waiting to be helped, there were several people sitting down talking to ticket agencies. I overheard a woman say, "I haven't had A's season tickets in years, but I figure I'll need to since the seating capacity is more limited this year." It sounded like the ticket agent told her that opening night was sold out, she was pretty upset. But still, judging from hearing this conversation, the A's are successfully pushing more people to sign up for season seats than they did in the past.
I picked up the tickets even though the ticket rep I'd been working with wasn't around. As I left the ticket office, I noticed someone who looked very much like Lew Wolff from behind. So I went in for a closer look. It turned out, it was Mr. Wolff. I introduced myself and shared the story about what we did to get kids to the A's games. He was extremely impressed and asked if the A's could do anything to help. I told him we'd already received quite a bit of assistance from his ticket rep and he was happy to hear that (apparently, the ticket rep I got was the person who runs ticketing, so I was pointed in the right direction). The funny thing is that I'm scheduled to do an interview with Mr. Wolff Monday morning at 10 a.m. So he asked me, do you just want to do the interview now? Since I didn't have my recorder or the questions completely finished and I had to drop the tickets off in two places, it wasn't practical.
I left and headed off to Sports4Kids, which was back north up the 880. There I met Evan, who had been my contact at the organization. We went inside and he introduced me to Jonas and several other S4K employees. Several claimed that they read AN regularly and all were extremely grateful for the effort involved in getting this done. The S4K office was littered with drawings and thank you notes from kids who had benefitted from the program. It felt good seeing their office and knowing that our effort would be going to use.
After talking about the site and it's growth, I started to spread the tickets out on Evan's desk to separate the S4K games (30) from the 24-Hour Children's Center tickets (10). It turns out that when the A's printed out the tickets, they didn't come out sequential at all. Thankfully, Evan and Jonas were nice enough to help separate out the tickets on the floor. It took us about 45 minutes in all to get the tickets and food coupons in order. I took a photo to capture the madness on the floor (we literally had ticket piles stretching from inside one person's office, across the hallway to another person's office):
The piles of tickets AN donated to Sports4Kids.
Evan and I also took a photo outside in front of their nicely-painted garage door with him showing off the score of tickets:
Evan presented me with a Sports4Kids tee to thank AN for our significant contribution.
I then made my way back down south on the 880 to the 24-Hour Children's Center in Oakland. I met Gwen, the center's director, there and she brought me into the shelter to see the kids who happened to be napping. Many of these kids are part of families who have been priced out of being able to afford any kind of housing in the Bay Area. It felt good to realize that we could be given the kids some joy at least for a day. Not only that, but it also made me really happy that we decided to get the food vouchers to go along with it. I think that will come in especially handy with the Children's Center. Since the kids were all napping, I didn't get a photo of them. Gwen was very appreciative of everything and wanted me to pass along her thanks to all of you.
Oh, and add to this the fact that the Bill King tee shirts have raised about $5,000 for the Smuin Ballet through the end of January and AN has become quite a place for fan activism. I'll be sending the check for the King tees to the A's sometime this week.
Still, I feel so fortunate that so many fans out there care enough to have done such an amazing act. This was one of the most wonderful moments I've ever felt. I hope you feel it too.