Beer, Baseball and Band Moms

I was all ready to write about Barbie and her new occupations, or my self-destructing toenails, or the EV I drove last weekend, but my friend Tara came to visit and I was reminded about when I had to work as a slave selling beer at the Lexington Legends games.

I was a band mom, which means I would do anything that I was told to do by someone wearing a name tag. In the name of fundraising, I sold and bought fruit, knick-knacks, sausage and cheese that can sit unrefrigerated for months and not go bad, frozen pizzas, plants, candles, and gift cards to restaurants I don’t go to.

And because of some crazy fundraising contract that some overzealous committee chairman had signed in blood, I also had to work behind the concession stands at the minor league baseball games. We didn’t get paid, but we got a checkmark after our kids’ names, indicating that we had worked at the number of games required. And the number was 15.

I never stopped to think about what would happen if I didn’t work those 15 games. Would my daughter’s instrument be filled with the beer that I didn’t sell that night? Would we be ostracized at the band banquet? Would I know the difference?  To tell you the truth I was too scared to put that to the test.

We weren’t allowed to put the high school kids on the beer taps because of some stupid international law to prevent child abuse, so all adults had to pour beer. We all fought for the nacho cheese pouring station or the pizza oven or even hot pretzels - all of which were harder, hotter and more dangerous than pouring beer - but those jobs had to go to the kids, so that the adults could serve the alcohol. (There was also ice cream and popcorn, but I’m pretty sure you had to sleep with someone to get those jobs.)

Rumor had it that a couple years before, some parents claimed they wouldn’t sell beer for religious reasons, but it didn’t take long for every band parent to claim they were Mormon or Baha’i or Jehovah’s Witness or Southern Baptist or Muslim. Some may have even made up new religions that were too hard to check into. By the time I got there, there were no exemptions. I, who had been seen both in a Catholic Church and in bars, had no chance: I had to man the beer tap.

The Legends games were popular drinking hang-outs for college frat boys. Some math major figured out that it was cheaper to buy a ticket to the game and buy $1 beers on Thirsty Thursday than to go to a bar. And with a bunch of reluctant band moms behind the bar, being overserved was a piece of cake.

I hated those punks.

We had to keep remembering who we had served and how many we had given them. Twenty-one-year-old frat boys all look alike. Their fake IDs all look real. We were supposed to engage them in conversation so we could determine how drunk they were and if they should be cut off. It shouldn’t surprise you that there are very few topics of discussion between a college kid and a tired band mom whose shoes are sticking to the floor.

Some games went into extra innings, we’d be working seven or eight hours, and no matter how fast you served and rang up the sales, the lines would just get longer.

Occasionally, we’d get a regular adult to wait on and that was a relief. They would go check and tell me what inning it was, tell us we were doing a good job despite the fact that we were just regular moms, and some of them even tipped us.

That was three years ago. Now, every so often, someone will suggest that selling concessions at the local baseball stadium would be a “really great way to raise money.” I threaten to resign whatever office I hold or committee I chair, because I’m done serving beer to frat boys. From now on, it’s funnel cakes or nothing.

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