Monday, February 1, 2010

The Coolest Plane Ride EVER

Although it happened over three years ago, I didn’t have a writing outlet at the time. So I’ll tell the story now.

I’ve taken many a plane ride over the course of my 34 years, but none were as unique as this one. (Well, okay, the time I sat right behind adult movie-star Ron Jeremy may have been a bit unique, but not in a good way. And the only reason I knew his identity was because some of my co-workers explained to me who he was and what all the commotion was about. Anyway, that was an interesting experience in its own right. The guy fell asleep, and while he slept with his mouth wide open, nearly EVERY passenger on the plane took the opportunity to walk past and snap a photo with his or her camera-phone! But I digress).

As I was aboard my American Airlines flight to Orlando this past week, my mind raced back to my last trip to Florida three years ago for my brothers wedding at Sanibel Island near Fort Myers. The whole family was with, including my daughter who was just 1-½ years old. It was her first experience on an airplane and it was not pleasant—for any of us. In fact, if the story I’m about to tell hadn’t happened, it would have been one of the most miserable three hours of my life. She screamed for about half the flight, especially on take-off and landing, probably due to the tubes that had just been put in her ears shortly before our trip. Since there were five of us, I was in a seat directly across the aisle from the rest of my family, seated next to an older couple who was nicely dressed and friendly looking. They noticed my Red Sox attire and began to strike up a conversation with me, telling me they were from Boston. Surprised by my enthusiasm for the Red Sox and my knowledge of the team as a Midwesterner, we began talking as though we were lifelong friends. By that time, my daughter had calmed down, and the couple had taken such a liking to her, that she was sitting on their laps while they read books to her! It wasn’t long into the conversation that I found out that the couple I was speaking with was none other than Mr. And Mrs. Ed Brickley. Now that name probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but Ed Brickley was the public address announcer for THE Boston Red Sox from 1997-2002. By the end of the plane ride, Mr. Brickley had given me his business card, wrote his personal cell-phone number on the back, and told me to call him for a personal tour of Fenway Park the next time I was there! His title at the time of our visit was “Legends Suite Host” and his role was to entertain famous guests to the ballpark inside the Legends Suite.

Although I haven’t been back to Fenway since, and I don’t even know if Mr. Brickley is still there, that plane ride three years ago--screaming toddler and all--was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I think the Lord just knew that day that I needed something a little extra special to get me through that flight…And that’s how the story of an airplane ride fits onto a sports blog.

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