When Free Hot Dog Night Wasn’t a Prize

The Tigers played the Guardians (don’t you dare call them the Indians) on Tuesday night and I was there. Our friend Lisa Marie (don’t you dare think she’s related to Elvis) had never been to a night game at Comerica Park. So off we went with Lisa, her nephews (Dillon and Davis) and my “I-hate-baseball but I love my husband” wife, Karla

I sat in section 114. Row 30. Seat 23. Those seats were close enough to the action that you could see the players without binoculars; but far enough away that should a foul ball clunk you in the bean, you deserved it. You could read War and Peace (at least the Cliff Notes) by the time the ball would actually hit you (a slight exaggeration). Lisa and her nephews sat in Row 29. We sat behind them. Why is this important? Read on.

In the third inning, a camera man came and sat in the aisle by us. I thought someone was about to propose to a soon-to-be fiancé (or about to be broken hearted with a big fat “thanks but no thanks” rejection). No proposal was made. Instead as the cameraman zoomed in on our row, row 30, and it was announced, yes, our row 30, was the Ball Park Dog Row Giveaway Winner. Hip Hip Hooray! I know, I know, my dear Flintstones, it wasn’t Koegels. But free is free and I was happy. (see picture)

My dilemma: No one was hungry. Karla had already eaten a mountain of nachos, the boys and Lisa had nachos, pizza, brats and a partridge in a pear tree (they’re growing boys what do you expect). Me? I hadn’t eaten anything. My tummy was a little rumbly from my lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant. Final Score: Shawarma 1. Rob 0. 

But the dogs were free… 

I have been to 100s of ballgames down through the years and never, not even once, have I won anything. The closest I ever came to a win was when an ex-boyfriend of Karla was a contestant in an in-between innings, time-filler games on the big screen. Let’s just say, the game ended without a prize winner. I looked at Karla with a silly grin as if to say, “You got a winner in me, baby.” I’m not sure Karla was convinced. All this to say, we had two free hot dogs that no one wanted. What would you do?

I got the hot dogs. I ate one. I’ll show that stinking Shawarma who’s boss. Karla gave her hot dog to the five-year old sitting over a few seats. Nothing tastes better than a free hotdog at a baseball game. My joy quickly gave way to the losing effort by the Motor City Meow Meow’s. They lost 5-2. It wasn’t that close. 

My losing ways weren’t over. Let’s just call the rest of the night, “Shawarma’s Revenge” (the title I wanted was “Night of the Living Dead,” but that was taken). Ugh!  To be fair, maybe it was the non-Koegel hot dog at the game or my gall stones (yup, I got em and a kidney stone too) or who knows what. It wasn’t a fun evening. 

My Point: Sometimes you can be in a wonderful place (read: Comerica), surrounded by friends and still feel lousy. Sometimes everyone can be cheering (read: not at Comerica) and you don’t feel like cheering. Sometimes you can win a prize (free dog night), and later discover it was no prize (burb). Sometimes life isn’t a home run (unless you are the away team at Comerica) and it seems like you are striking out (Now, I’m talking the Tiger’s language). Just remember this: God is still with you!  Even when you don’t feel it. Jesus promised, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). Feelings pass. The sun will shine. You will smile again.